Gastric contractions show two specific patterns in many species, migrating motor contractions (MMC) and postprandial contractions (PPCs), that occur in the fasted and fed states, respectively. In this study, we examined the role of somatostatin (SST) in gastric motility both in vivo and in vitro using the Asian house shrew (Suncus murinus). We performed in vivo recordings of gastric motility and in vitro organ bath experiments using S. murinus, which was recently established as a small laboratory animal for use in tests of gastrointestinal motility. SST (1.65 µg kg−1 min−1) was intravenously administered during phase II of MMC and PPCs. Next, the effect of SST on motilin-induced gastric contractions at phase I of MMC was measured. Cyclosomatostatin (CSST), an SST receptor antagonist, was administered at the peak of phase III of MMC. In addition, the effect of SST (10−11–10−9 M) on motilin-induced gastric contractions was evaluated using an organ bath experiment in vitro. In conscious, free-moving S. murinus, the administration of SST decreased the occurrence of the spontaneous phase II of MMC and PPCs. Pretreatment with SST and octreotide suppressed the induction of motilin-induced gastric contractions both in vivo and in vitro. Administration of CSST before the peak of spontaneous phase III contractions had no effect on gastric contractions. Endogenous SST is not involved in the regulation of gastric MMC and PPCs, but exogenous SST suppresses spontaneous gastric contractions. Thus, SST would be good for treating abnormal gastrointestinal motility disorders.
Oropharyngeal dysphagia (OD) is a common symptom in the older people, and may cause fatal complications such as aspiration pneumonia. However, there is no established treatment for OD. The relationship between the transient receptor potential vanilloid 1 (TRPV1) and substance P released by activated TRPV1 was recently demonstrated. Further, there are several reports showing that capsaicin, a specific agonist of TRPV1, can improve OD. Currently, the evaluation of swallowing is mainly performed by videofluoroscopic examination. However, there are no reports on the clinical application of ultrasonography using tissue Doppler imaging. In this review, we describe the pathophysiology and treatments for OD, introduce our novel US method to evaluate cervical esophageal motility, and then outline our clinical study examining the effects of capsaicin, a specific TRPV1 agonist, in older patients with OD.
Blebbistatin, a potent inhibitor of myosin II, is known to suppress smooth muscle contraction without affecting myosin light chain phosphorylation level. In order to clarify the regulatory mechanisms of blebbistatin on phasic and tonic smooth muscles in detail, we examined the effects of blebbistatin on relaxation process by Ca2+ removal after Ca2+-induced contraction of β-escin skinned (cell membrane permeabilized) trachea and taenia cecum preparations from guinea pigs. Blebbistatin significantly suppressed the force during relaxation both in skinned trachea and taenia cecum. The data fitting analysis of the relaxation processes indicates that blebbistatin accelerates slow (latch-like) bridge dissociation.
The c-Kit receptor tyrosine kinase regulates the development and differentiation of several progenitor cells. In the gastrointestinal (GI) tract, the c-Kit regulates the development of the interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) that are responsible for motility regulation of the GI musculature. W-sash (Wsh) is an inversion mutation upstream of the c-kit promoter region that affects a key regulatory element, resulting in cell-type-specific altered gene expression, leading to a decrease in the number of mast cells, melanocytes, and ICC. We extensively examined the GI tract of Wsh/Wsh mice using immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Although the musculature of the Wsh/Wsh mice did not show any c-Kit immunoreactivity, we detected intensive immunoreactivity for transmembrane member 16A (TMEM16A, anoctamin-1), another ICC marker. TMEM16A immunopositive cells were observed as ICC-MY in the gastric corpus-antrum and the large intestine, ICC-DMP in the small intestine, and ICC-SM in the colon. Electron microscopic analysis revealed these cells as ICC from their ultrastructural features, such as numerous mitochondria and caveolae, and their close contact with nerve terminals. In the developmental period, we examined 14.5 and 18.5 day embryos but did not observe c-Kit immunoreactivity in the Wsh/Wsh small intestine. From this study, ICC subtypes developed and maturated structurally without c-Kit expression. Wsh/Wsh mice are a new model to investigate the effects of c-Kit and unknown signaling on ICC development and function.
Spontaneous rhythmic constrictions known as vasomotion are developed in several microvascular beds in vivo. Vasomotion in arterioles is considered to facilitate blood flow, while venular vasomotion would facilitate tissue metabolite drainage. Mechanisms underlying vasomotion periodically generate synchronous Ca2+ transients in vascular smooth muscle cells (VSMCs). In visceral organs, mural cells (pericytes and VSMCs) in arterioles, capillaries and venules exhibit synchronous spontaneous Ca2+ transients. Since sympathetic regulation is rather limited in the intra-organ microvessels, spontaneous activity of mural cells may play an essential role in maintaining tissue perfusion. Synchronous spontaneous Ca2+ transients in precapillary arterioles (PCAs)/capillaries appear to propagate to upstream arterioles to drive their vasomotion, while venules develop their own synchronous Ca2+ transients and associated vasomotion. Spontaneous Ca2+ transients of mural cells primarily arise from IP3 and/or ryanodine receptor-mediated Ca2+ release from sarcoendoplasmic reticulum (SR/ER) Ca2+ stores. The resultant opening of Ca2+-activated Cl- channels (CaCCs) causes a membrane depolarisation that triggers Ca2+ influx via T-type and/or L-type voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels (VDCCs). Mural cells are electrically coupled with each other via gap junctions, and thus allow the sequential spread of CaCC or VDCC-dependent depolarisations to develop the synchrony of Ca2+ transients within their network. Importantly, the synchrony of spontaneous Ca2+ transients also requires a certain range of the resting membrane potential that is maintained by the opening of Kv7 voltage-dependent K+ (Kv7) and inward rectifier K+ (Kir) channels. Thus, a depolarised membrane would evoke asynchronous, ‘premature’ spontaneous Ca2+ transients, while a hyperpolarised membrane prevents any spontaneous activity.
Sang Eok Lee, Dae Hoon Kim, Seung Myeung Son, Song-Yi Choi, Ra Young You, Chan Hyung Kim, Woong Choi, Hun Sik Kim, Yung Ji Lim, Ji Young Han, Hyun Woo Kim, In Jun Yang, Wen-Xie Xu, Sang Jin Lee, Young Chul Kim, Hyo-Yung Yun
Gastric motility is controlled by slow waves. In general, the activation of the ATP-sensitive K+ (KATP) channels in the smooth muscle opposes the membrane excitability and produces relaxation. Since metabolic inhibition and/or diabetes mellitus are accompanied by dysfunctions of gastric smooth muscle, we examined the possible roles of KATP channels in human gastric motility. We used human gastric corpus and antrum smooth muscle preparations and recorded the mechanical activities with a conventional contractile measuring system. We also identified the subunits of the KATP channels using Western blot. Pinacidil (10 μM), a KATP channel opener, suppressed contractions to 30% (basal tone to −0.2 g) of the control. The inhibitory effect of pinacidil on contraction was reversed to 59% of the control by glibenclamide (20 μM), a KATP channel blocker. The relaxation by pinacidil was not affected by a pretreatment with L-arginine methyl ester, tetraethylammonium, or 4-aminopyridine. Pinacidil also inhibited the acetylcholine (ACh)-induced tonic and phasic contractions in a glibenclamide-sensitive manner (42% and 6% of the control, respectively). Other KATP channel openers such as diazoxide, cromakalim and nicorandil also inhibited the spontaneous and ACh-induced contractions. Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP), a gastric neuropeptide, induced muscle relaxation by the activation of KATP channels in human gastric smooth muscle. Finally, we have found with Western blot studies, that human gastric smooth muscle expressed KATP channels which were composed of Kir 6.2 and SUR2B subunits.
Rubratoxin A, a potent inhibitor of PP2A, is known to suppress smooth muscle contraction. The inhibitory role of PP2A in smooth muscle contraction is still unclear. In order to clarify the regulatory mechanisms of PP2A on vascular smooth muscle contractility, we examined the effects of rubratoxin A on the Ca2+-induced contraction of β-escin skinned carotid artery preparations from guinea pigs. Rubratoxin A at 1 µM and 10 µM significantly inhibited skinned carotid artery contraction at any Ca2+ concentration. The data fitting to the Hill equation in [Ca2+]-contraction relationship indicated that rubratoxin A decreased Fmax-Ca2+ and increased [Ca2+]50, indices of Ca2+ sensitivity for the force and myosin-actin interaction, respectively. These results suggest that PP2A inhibition causes downregulation of the myosin light chain phosphorylation and direct interference with myosin-actin interaction.
Prostaglandin D2 (PGD2), one of the key lipid mediators of allergic airway inflammation, is increased in the airways of asthmatics. However, the role of PGD2 in the pathogenesis of asthma is not fully understood. In the present study, effects of PGD2 on smooth muscle contractility of the airways were determined to elucidate its role in the development of airway hyperresponsiveness (AHR). In a murine model of allergic asthma, antigen challenge to the sensitized animals caused a sustained increase in PGD2 levels in bronchoalveolar lavage (BAL) fluids, indicating that smooth muscle cells of the airways are continually exposed to PGD2 after the antigen exposure. In bronchial smooth muscles (BSMs) isolated from naive mice, a prolonged incubation with PGD2 (10−5 M, for 24 h) induced an augmentation of contraction induced by acetylcholine (ACh): the ACh concentration-response curve was significantly shifted upward by the 24-h incubation with PGD2. Application of PGD2 caused phosphorylation of ERK1/2 and p38 in cultured BSM cells: both of the PGD2-induced events were abolished by laropiprant (a DP1 receptor antagonist) but not by fevipiprant (a DP2 receptor antagonist). In addition, the BSM hyperresponsiveness to ACh induced by the 24-h incubation with PGD2 was significantly inhibited by co-incubation with SB203580 (a p38 inhibitor), whereas U0126 (a ERK1/2 inhibitor) had no effect on it. These findings suggest that prolonged exposure to PGD2 causes the BSM hyperresponsiveness via the DP1 receptor-mediated activation of p38. A sustained increase in PGD2 in the airways might be a cause of the AHR in allergic asthmatics.
All the cells of rat detrusor muscle fall into one of five ultrastructural types: muscle cells, fibroblasts, axons and glia, and vascular cells (endothelial cells and pericytes). The tissue is ~79% cellular and 21% non-cellular. Muscle cells occupy 72%, nerves ~4% (1/3 axons, 2/3 glia), and fibroblast >3% of space. Muscle cells (up to 6 µm across and ~600 µm long, packed to almost 100,000 per mm2) have surface-to-volume ratio of 2.4 µm2/µm3 ~93% of cell volume is contractile apparatus, 3.1% mitochondria and 2.5% nucleus. Cell profiles are irregular but sectional area decreases regularly towards either end of the cell. Muscle cells are gathered into bundles (the mechanical units of detrusor), variable in length and size, but of constant width. The musculature is highly compact (without fascia or capsule) with smooth outer surfaces and extensive association and adhesion between its cells. Among many types of intercellular contact and junction, digitations are very common, each muscle cell issuing minute finger-like processes that abut on adjacent cells. Sealed apposition are wide areas of specialized contact, possibly forming a chamber between two muscle cells, distinct from the extracellular space at large (stromal space). The innervation is very dense, virtually all intramuscular axons being varicose (including afferent ones). There are identifiable neuro-muscular junctions on each muscle cell, often several junctions on a single cell. There are also unattached terminals. Fibroblasts (involved in the production of collagen), ~1% of the total number of cells, do not make specialized contacts.
Shunsuke Hyuga, Jennifer Danielsson, Joy Vink, Xiao Wen Fu, Ronald Wapner, George Gallos
Background: Pre-term birth is a major health care challenge throughout the world, and preterm labor represents a potentially reversible component of this problem. Current tocolytics do not improve preterm labor beyond 48 h. We have previously shown that anoctamin 1 (ANO1) channel blockade results in relaxation of pre-contracted human uterine smooth muscle (USM). Three drug classes with reported medicinal effects in humans also have members with ANO1 antagonism. In this study, we compared the ability of representatives from these 3 classes to reduce human USM contractility and excitability. Objective: This study sought to examine the comparative potency of 3 ANO1 antagonists on pregnant human USM relaxation, contraction frequency reduction, inhibition of intracellular calcium release and membrane hyperpolarization. Methods: Experiments were performed using: 1) Ex vivo organ bath (human pregnant tissue), 2) Oxytocin-induced calcium flux (in vitro human USM cells) and 3) Membrane potential assay (in vitro human USM cells). Results: Benzbromarone (BB) demonstrated the greatest potency among the compounds tested with respect to force, frequency inhibition, reducing calcium elevation and depolarizing membrane potential. Conclusion: While all 3 ANO1 antagonists attenuate pregnant human uterine tissue contractility and excitability, BB is the most potent tocolytic drug. Our findings may serve as a foundation for future structure-function analyses for novel tocolytic drug development.
Daisuke Chino, Tomoyo Sone, Kumi Yamazaki, Yuri Tsuruoka, Risa Yamagishi, Shunsuke Shiina, Keisuke Obara, Fumiko Yamaki, Koji Higai, Yoshio Tanaka
Object We aimed to identify the β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) subtypes involved in isoprenaline-induced relaxation of guinea pig colonic longitudinal smooth muscle using pharmacological and biochemical approaches. Methods Longitudinal smooth muscle was prepared from the male guinea pig ascending colon and contracted with histamine prior to comparing the relaxant responses to three catecholamines (isoprenaline, adrenaline, and noradrenaline). The inhibitory effects of subtype-selective β-AR antagonists on isoprenaline-induced relaxation were then investigated. Results The relaxant potencies of the catecholamines were ranked as: isoprenaline > noradrenaline ≈ adrenaline, whereas the rank order was isoprenaline > noradrenaline > adrenaline in the presence of propranolol (a non-selective β-AR antagonist; 3 × 10−7 M). Atenolol (a selective β1-AR antagonist; 3 × 10−7–10−6 M) acted as a competitive antagonist of isoprenaline-induced relaxation, and the pA2 value was calculated to be 6.49 (95% confidence interval: 6.34–6.83). The relaxation to isoprenaline was not affected by ICI-118,551 (a selective β2-AR antagonist) at 10−9–10−8 M, but was competitively antagonized by 10−7–3 × 10−7 M, with a pA2 value of 7.41 (95% confidence interval: 7.18–8.02). In the presence of propranolol (3 × 10−7 M), the relaxant effect of isoprenaline was competitively antagonized by bupranolol (a non-selective β-AR antagonist), with a pA2 value of 5.90 (95% confidence interval: 5.73–6.35). Conclusion These findings indicated that the β-AR subtypes involved in isoprenaline-induced relaxation of colonic longitudinal guinea pig muscles are β1-AR and β3-AR.
Object We identified the β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) subtypes responsible for the relaxant responses to adrenaline (AD) and noradrenaline (NA) in the rat thoracic aorta and examined the role of cAMP which is involved in these relaxant responses. Methods The effects of β-AR antagonists or the adenylyl cyclase inhibitor SQ 22,536 on AD- and NA-induced relaxant responses in phenylephrine-induced contraction and increases in cAMP levels were examined in isolated, endothelium-denuded rat thoracic aorta segments. Results AD-induced relaxation was completely suppressed by propranolol (10−7 M) or by ICI-118,551 (10−8 M) plus atenolol (10−6 M), and was also very strongly inhibited by ICI-118,551 (10−8 M) alone. AD (10−5 M) increased tissue cAMP levels by approximately 1.9-fold compared with that in non-stimulated aortic tissue, but did not significantly increase cAMP levels in the presence of ICI-118,551 (10−8 M) or SQ 22,536 (10−4 M). AD-induced relaxation was strongly suppressed by SQ 22,536 (10−4 M). NA-induced relaxation was almost completely suppressed by atenolol (10−6 M) plus ICI-118,551 (10−8 M) although it was hardly affected by ICI-118,551 (10−8 M) alone. NA (10−5 M) increased tissue cAMP levels by approximately 2.2-fold compared with that in non-stimulated aortic tissue, but did not significantly increase cAMP levels in the presence of atenolol (10−6 M) or SQ 22,536 (10−4 M). NA-induced relaxation was strongly suppressed by SQ 22,536 (10−4 M). Conclusion In rat thoracic aorta, AD- and NA-induced relaxations, which are both strongly dependent on increased tissue cAMP levels, are mainly mediated through β2- and β1-adrenoceptors respectively.
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.
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.
A hallmark of smooth muscle cells is their ability to adapt their functions to meet temporal and chronic fluctuations in their demands. These functions include force development and growth. Understanding the mechanisms underlying the functional plasticity of smooth muscles, the major constituent of organ walls, is fundamental to elucidating pathophysiological rationales of failures of organ functions. Also, the knowledge is expected to facilitate devising innovative strategies that more precisely monitor and normalize organ functions by targeting individual smooth muscles. Evidence has established a current paradigm that the myosin light chain phosphatase (MLCP) is a master regulator of smooth muscle responsiveness to stimuli. Cellular MLCP activity is negatively and positively regulated in response to G-protein activation and cAMP/cGMP production, respectively, through the MYPT1 regulatory subunit and an endogenous inhibitor protein named CPI-17. In this article we review the outcomes from two decade of research on the CPI-17 signaling and discuss emerging paradoxes in the view of signaling pathways regulating smooth muscle functions through MLCP.
The prostate is a gland whose secretions contribute to the seminal fluids ejaculated upon activation of autonomic sympathetic nerves. In elder males, the prostate undergoes an increase in stroma mass and myogenic tone, leading to benign prostatic hyperplasia that occludes the proximal urethra and the presentation of various lower urinary tract symptoms that decrease their quality of life. This review summarises the role of prostatic interstitial cells (PICs) in the generation of the spontaneous tone in the prostate. It presents current knowledge of the role of Ca2+ plays in PIC pacemaking, as well as the mechanisms by which this spontaneous activity triggers slow wave generation and stromal contraction. PICs display a small T-type Ca2+ current (ICaT) and a large L-type Ca2+ current (ICaL). In contrast to other interstitial cells in the urinary and gastrointestinal tracts, spontaneous Ca2+ signalling in PICs is uniquely dependent on Ca2+ influx through ICaL channels. A model of prostatic pacemaking is presented describing how ICaL can be triggered by an initial membrane depolarization evoked upon the selective opening of Ca2+-activated Cl– channels by Ca2+ flowing only through ICaT channels. The resulting current flow through ICaL results in release of Ca2+ from internal stores and the summation of Cl–-selective spontaneous transient depolarizations (STDs) to form pacemaker potentials that propagate passively into the prostatic stroma to evoke regenerative action potentials and excitation-contraction coupling.
The regulation of smooth muscle contraction and relaxation involves phosphorylation and dephosphorylation of regulatory proteins, particularly myosin. To elucidate the regulatory mechanisms, analyzing the phosphorylation signal transduction is crucial. Although a pharmacological approach with selective inhibitors is sensitive and a useful technique, it leads to speculation regarding a signaling pathway but does not provide direct evidence of changes at a molecular level. We developed a highly sensitive biochemical technique to analyze phosphorylation by adapting Phos-tag SDS-PAGE. With this technique, we successfully analyzed myosin light chain (LC20) phosphorylation in tiny renal afferent arterioles. In the rat afferent arterioles, endothelin-1 (ET-1) induced diphosphorylation of LC20 at Ser19 and Thr18 as well as monophosphorylation at Ser19 via ETB receptor activation. Considering that LC20 diphosphorylation can decrease the rate of dephosphorylation and thus relaxation, we concluded that LC20 diphosphorylation contributes, at least in part, to the prolonged contraction induced by ET-1 in the renal afferent arteriole.