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Chonnam Med J. 2018 Jan;54(1):63-71. doi: 10.4068/cmj.2018.54.1.63. Epub 2018 Jan 25.

Effects of ATP on Pacemaker Activity of Interstitial Cells of Cajal from the Mouse Small Intestine.

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Department of Internal Medicine, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea.
Department of Neurology, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea.
Department of Physiology, College of Medicine, Chosun University, Gwangju, Korea.


Purinergic receptors play an important role in regulating gastrointestinal (GI) motility. Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) are pacemaker cells that regulate GI smooth muscle activity. We studied the functional roles of external adenosine 5'-triphosphate (ATP) on pacemaker activity in cultured ICCs from mouse small intestines by using the whole-cell patch clamp technique and intracellular Ca2+ ([Ca2+]i) imaging. External ATP dose-dependently depolarized the resting membrane and produced tonic inward pacemaker currents, and these effects were antagonized by suramin, a purinergic P2 receptor antagonist. ATP-induced effects on pacemaker currents were suppressed by an external Na+-free solution and inhibited by the nonselective cation channel blockers, flufenamic acid and niflumic acid. The removal of external Ca2+ or treatment with thapsigargin (inhibitor of Ca2+ uptake into endoplasmic reticulum) inhibited the ATP-induced effects on pacemaker currents. Spontaneous [Ca2+]i oscillations were enhanced by external ATP. These results suggest that external ATP modulates pacemaker activity by activating nonselective cation channels via external Ca2+ influx and [Ca2+]i release from the endoplasmic reticulum. Thus, it seems that activating the purinergic P2 receptor may modulate GI motility by acting on ICCs in the small intestine.


Adenosine Triphosphate; Interstitial Cells of Cajal; Intestine, Small; Pacemaker, Artificial; Receptors, Purinergic

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