Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are mesenchymal cells that are distributed along the gastrointestinal tract and function as pacemaker cells or intermediary cells between nerves and smooth muscle cells. ICC express a receptor tyrosine kinase c-Kit, which is an established marker for ICC. The c-kit gene is allelic with the murine white-spotting locus (W), and some ICC subsets were reported to be missing in heterozygous mutant W/Wv mice carrying W and Wv mutated alleles. In this study, the characterization of interstitial cells in the subserosal layer of W/Wv mice was analyzed by immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. In the proximal and distal colon of W/Wv mutant mice, no c-Kit-positive cells were detected in the subserosal layer by immunohistochemistry. By electron microscopy, the interstitial cells, which were characterized by the existence of caveolae, abundant mitochondria and gap junctions, were observed in the W/Wv mutant colon. The morphological characteristics were comparable to those of the multipolar c-Kit positive ICC seen in the subserosa of proximal and distal colon of wild-type mice. Fibroblasts were also located in the same layers, but the morphology of the fibroblasts was distinguishable from that of ICC in wild type mice or of ICC-like cells in W/Wv mutant mice. Collectively, it is concluded that c-Kit-negative interstitial cells showing a typical ICC ultrastructure exist in the proximal and distal colon of W/Wv mutant mice.
Ciliary muscle is a smooth muscle characterized by a rapid response to muscarinic receptor stimulation and sustained contraction. Although it is evident that these contractions are Ca2+-dependent, detailed molecular mechanisms are still unknown. In order to elucidate the role of Ser/Thr protein phosphatase 2A (PP2A) in ciliary muscle contraction, we examined the effects of okadaic acid and other PP2A inhibitors on contractions induced by carbachol (CCh) and ionomycin in bovine ciliary muscle strips (BCM). Okadaic acid inhibited ionomycin-induced contraction, while it did not cause significant changes in CCh-induced contraction. Fostriecin showed similar inhibitory effects on the contraction of BCM. On the other hand, rubratoxin A inhibited both ionomycin- and CCh-induced contractions. These results indicated that PP2A was involved at least in ionomycin-induced Ca2+-dependent contraction, and that BCM had a unique regulatory mechanism in CCh-induced contraction.
Type 2 diabetic men commonly experience erectile dysfunction for which phosphodiesterase-5 (PDE5) inhibitors like sildenafil (Viagra) are often recommended. By preventing degradation of cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP) in vascular smooth muscle, these inhibitors also enhance arterial vasorelaxant effects of nitric oxide donors (which stimulate cGMP synthesis). In the present work, we confirmed this enhancing effect after co-administration of sildenafil with nitroprusside to freshly-isolated rat tail arterial tissues. However, in the same tissues we also observed that sildenafil does not enhance but rather attenuates vasorelaxant effects of three commonly-used antidiabetic drugs, i.e. the biguanide metformin and the thiazolidinediones pioglitazone and rosiglitazone. Indeed, sildenafil completely blocked vasorelaxant effects of low concentrations of these drugs. In addition, we found that this same novel anti-vasorelaxant interaction of sildenafil with these agents was abolished by either 1) omitting extracellular glucose or 2) inhibiting specific smooth muscle glycolytic pathways; pathways known to preferentially utilize extracellular glucose to fuel certain adenosine triphosphate (ATP)-dependent ion transporters: e.g. ATP-sensitive K channels, sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca-ATPase, plasma membrane Ca-ATPase and Na/K-ATPase. Accordingly, we suspect that altered activity of one or more of these ion transporters mediates the observed attenuating (anti-vasorelaxant) interaction of sildenafil with the antidiabetic drugs. The present results are relevant because hypertension is so common and difficult to control in Type 2 diabetes. The present data suggest that sildenafil might interfere with the known antihypertensive potential of metformin and the thiazolidinediones. However, they do not suggest that it will interact with them to cause life-threatening episodes of severe hypotension, as can occur when it is co-administered with nitrates.