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Am J Physiol. 1987 Mar;252(3 Pt 1):C290-9.

Interaction of two electrical pacemakers in muscularis of canine proximal colon.

Abstract

Experiments were performed to determine the source of the 20 cycles/min electrical oscillation commonly seen in colonic electrical records, the influence of the 20 cycles/min rhythm on the circular and longitudinal muscle layers, and the interactions between the 20 cycles/min rhythm and slow waves in circular muscle cells. Cross-sectional muscle preparations of the canine proximal colon were used to allow impalement of cells at any point through the thickness of the muscularis. Intracellular recordings from circular muscle cells clearly showed the two characteristic pacemaker frequencies in the colon (6 cycles/min slow waves; 20 cycles/min oscillations). The 20 cycles/min oscillations were recorded from longitudinal and circular muscle cells. Their amplitudes were greatest at the myenteric border. In the longitudinal layer the 20 cycles/min events initiated action potentials; in circular muscle the 20 cycles/min events summed with slow waves. Simultaneous recordings from circular and longitudinal cells across the myenteric border demonstrated that events in the two layers were usually in phase, suggesting that the two layers are electrically coupled and are paced by a common pacemaker. The amplitude of the 20 cycles/min events decayed with distance from the myenteric border in both circular and longitudinal muscles. The data demonstrate that two discrete populations of pacemaker cells generate the spontaneous electrical activity in the colon. Both events appear to passively spread through the circular muscle. It is the summation of these events that appears to serve as the signal for excitation-contraction coupling in circular muscle.

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