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Induction of heme oxygenase in guinea-pig stomach: roles in contraction and in single muscle cell ionic currents

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The role of heme oxygenase reaction products in modulation of stomach fundus excitability was studied. The presence of constitutive heme oxygenase 2 was verified in myenteric ganglia by immunohistochemistry. The role of inducible heme oxygenase isoenzyme was investigated after invivo treatment of animals with CoCl2 (80 mg kg−1 b.w) injected subcutaneously 24 h before they were killed. This treatment resulted in increased production of bilirubin and positive staining for the inducible isoform in stomach smooth muscle and vast induction in the liver. In both control and treated animals haemin, applied to the bath as a substrate of heme oxygenase caused significant decrease of prostaglandin F-induced tone, and ameliorated the relaxatory response of the fundic strips to electrical field stimulation. Both effects were antagonized by Sn-protoporphyrin IX, competitive heme oxygenase inhibitor, and were found to be neuronally dependent. In single freshly isolated smooth muscle cells from control animals haemin caused a concentration-dependent increase of the whole cell K+ currents, which was not affected by Sn-protoporphyrin IX, cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP)-dependent protein kinase or guanylyl cyclase antagonists, but was reversed by various antioxidants and abolished by an NO scavenger. In cells from treated animals the K+ current increasing effect of haemin did not depend on the presence of antioxidants, but was abolished by protein kinase G and guanylyl cyclase inhibitors, depletors of intracellular Ca2+ pools or Sn-protoporphyrin IX. Biliverdin did not affect contraction or ionic currents. Thus, this is the first study demonstrating that heme oxygenase is an inducible enzyme in guinea-pigs, which exerts a modulatory role on gastric smooth muscle excitability via carbon monoxide production.
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Keywords: contraction; enzyme activity; guinea-pig; haemin; heme oxygenase; histochemistry; ionic currents; smooth muscle

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1:  Department of Pharmacology and Clinical Pharmacology, St George's Hospital Medical School, London, UK. 2:  Institute of Biophysics, Bulgarian Academy of Sciences, Sofia, Bulgaria.

Publication date: 01 August 2002

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