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Am J Physiol Cell Physiol. 2007 Nov;293(5):C1645-59. Epub 2007 Sep 13.

Voltage-gated Ca2+ currents are necessary for slow-wave propagation in the canine gastric antrum.

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Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada School of Medicine, Reno, Nevada 89557, USA.


Electrical slow waves determine the timing and force of peristaltic contractions in the stomach. Slow waves originate from a dominant pacemaker in the orad corpus and propagate actively around and down the stomach to the pylorus. The mechanism of slow-wave propagation is controversial. We tested whether Ca(2+) entry via a voltage-dependent, dihydropyridine-resistant Ca(2+) conductance is necessary for active propagation in canine gastric antral muscles. Muscle strips cut parallel to the circular muscle were studied with intracellular electrophysiological techniques using a partitioned-chamber apparatus. Slow-wave upstroke velocity and plateau amplitude decreased from the greater to the lesser curvature, and this corresponded to a decrease in the density of interstitial cells of Cajal in the lesser curvature. Slow-wave propagation velocity between electrodes impaling cells in two regions of muscle and slow-wave upstroke and plateau were measured in response to experimental conditions that reduce the driving force for Ca(2+) entry or block voltage-dependent Ca(2+) currents. Nicardipine (0.1-1 microM) did not affect slow-wave upstroke or propagation velocities. Upstroke velocity, amplitude, and propagation velocity were reduced in a concentration-dependent manner by Ni(2+) (1-100 microM), mibefradil (10-30 microM), and reduced extracellular Ca(2+) (0.5-1.5 mM). Depolarization (by 10-15 mM K(+)) or hyperpolarization (10 microM pinacidil) also reduced upstroke and propagation velocities. The higher concentrations (or lowest Ca(2+)) of these drugs and ionic conditions tested blocked slow-wave propagation. Treatment with cyclopiazonic acid to empty Ca(2+) stores did not affect propagation. These experiments show that voltage-dependent Ca(2+) entry is obligatory for the upstroke phase of slow waves and active propagation.

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