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Gastroenterology. 1986 May;90(5 Pt 1):1197-204.

Electrical basis of excitation and inhibition of human colonic smooth muscle.


Excitation and inhibition of electrical activities of the musculature of the human colon and the consequent changes in motor activities were studied in vitro. The mechanisms of excitation and inhibition were very different from those of the small intestine and colons from animal models. Carbachol increased spiking activity and the frequency of bursts of electrical oscillations in longitudinal muscle. Each longitudinal muscle contraction was related to a burst of electrical oscillations. Carbachol induced one of three patterns of activity in circular muscle: (a) continuous electrical oscillatory activity (14-24 cpm) with spikes, associated with tonic contraction; (b) bursts of such electrical activity, associated with broad phasic contractions; or (c) prolonged membrane potential depolarizations (frequency 1-3 cpm) with superimposed intense spiking activity, associated with phasic contractions. Isoproterenol inhibited all electrical and mechanical activities in both muscle layers. These results may provide a better understanding of (a) the origins of the variable patterns of electrical and motor activities and (b) the relationship between electrical and mechanical activities of the human colon musculature.

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