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Colon-specific contractile responses to tetrodotoxin in the isolated mouse gastrointestinal tract

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1 Tetrodotoxin (TTX) is a useful pharmacological tool for distinguishing neural and myogenic responses of isolated visceral organs to drugs. Although TTX does not generally affect smooth muscle tonus, in this study, we have found that TTX causes contraction of the mouse colon. The aim of this study was to characterize this TTX-induced contraction in the mouse gastrointestinal tract.

2 Longitudinal and circular muscle strips from the stomach and small intestine were less sensitive to TTX. However, TTX contracted both smooth muscle strips from the proximal colon and distal colon.

3 Pretreatment with TTX, Nω-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (l-NAME), (1)H-[1,2,4]oxadiazolo[4,3-a]quinoxalin-1-one (ODQ) and apamin inhibited the TTX-induced contraction.l-NAME, ODQ or apamin itself caused contraction in the colon but not in the gastric and small intestinal strips. Region dependency ofl-NAME, ODQ and apamin-induced contraction correlated with that of TTX-induced contraction.

4 l-Arginine but notd-arginine inhibited contractility of the colonic strips without affecting the contractility of muscle strips from other regions. Sodium nitroprusside caused strong relaxation of the colonic strips.

5 1,1-Dimethyl-4-phenylpiperazinium (DMPP) caused relaxation of proximal and distal colons, which was significantly decreased byl-NAME or apamin.

6 In conclusion, among mouse gastrointestinal preparations, TTX induces contraction of colonic strips preferentially through blockade of potent tonic inhibitory neural outflow, which involves nitrergic and apamin-sensitive pathways. Colon-specific responses tol-arginine,l-NAME, ODQ and apamin support the hypothesis that there is a continuous suppression of colonic motility by enteric inhibitory neurons.

Keywords: contraction; inhibitory nerves; mouse colon; nitric oxide; tetrodotoxin

Document Type: Research Article


Publication date: January 1, 2011

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