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J Physiol. 1996 Apr 1;492 ( Pt 1):185-98.

Electrical properties of smooth muscle in the guinea-pig urinary bladder.

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University Department of Pharmacology, Oxford, UK.


1. The effects of transmural nerve stimulation were examined on preparations of detrusor smooth muscle from guinea-pig urinary bladder using intracellular recording techniques. Most recordings were made from preparations in which spontaneous and evoked action potentials had been inhibited by nifedipine (10 microM), a dihydropyridine that blocks L-type Ca2+ channels. 2. Supramaximal stimuli evoked excitatory junction potentials (EJPs) which could be divided into three basic types. Type 1 EJPs had short latencies (< 30 ms) and fast rise times (< 60 ms). Type 2 EJPs consisted of two components: a small depolarization that was followed by a second depolarization with a faster rise time. In a third type of cell, at high strengths of stimulation, EJPs resembled type 1 EJPs but at lower strengths of stimulation were similar in time course to type 2 EJPs. 3. All EJPs were abolished by tetrodotoxin (1 microM) and reduced by omega-conotoxin (0.1 microM), but were unaffected by hexamethonium (0.1 mM), suggesting that they result from the release of transmitter from post-ganglionic nerve fibres. All responses persisted in the presence of atropine (1 microM) but were abolished following the desensitization of P2-purinoceptors with alpha, beta-methylene ATP (m-ATP; 10 microM). 4. Spontaneous excitatory junction potentials (SEJPs) were also recorded from most cells. SEJPs were similar in appearance to fast single-component EJPs; however, in general they had a briefer time course. SEJPs persisted in the presence of tetrodotoxin (1 microM). 5. The electrical properties of urinary bladder smooth muscle were also examined. Voltage changes induced by point current injection into cells had fast rates of rise and decay (time constant, 5-20 ms). The input resistance of cells ranged between 12 and 108 M omega. When recordings were taken from cells near the point of current injection, resultant electrotonic potentials could be detected in only a small proportions of cells. 6. The results are discussed in relation to the idea that transmural nerve stimulation in the guinea-pig urinary bladder causes the activation of at least two different membrane conductances. Cells appear to be electrically coupled with one another. However, it is likely that coupling exists within discrete bundles of the smooth muscle.

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