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Inhibitory Neural Regulation of the Ca2+ Transients in Intramuscular Interstitial Cells of Cajal in the Small Intestine
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Gastrointestinal motility is coordinated by enteric neurons. Both inhibitory and excitatory motor neurons innervate the syncytium consisting of smooth muscle cells (SMCs) interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) and PDGFR alpha(+) cells (SIP syncytium). Confocal imaging of mouse small intestines from animals expressing GCaMP3 in ICC were used to investigate inhibitory neural regulation of ICC in the deep muscular plexus (ICC-DMP). We hypothesized that Ca2+ signaling in ICC-DMP can be modulated by inhibitory enteric neural input. ICC-DMP lie in close proximity to the varicosities of motor neurons and generate ongoing Ca2+ transients that underlie activation of Ca2+-dependent Cl-channels and regulate the excitability of SMCs in the SIP syncytium. Electrical field stimulation (EFS) caused inhibition of Ca2+ for the first 2-3 s of stimulation, and then Ca2+ transients escaped from inhibition. The NO donor (DEA-NONOate) inhibited Ca2+ transients and N omega-Nitro-L-arginine (L-NNA) or a guanylate cyclase inhibitor (ODQ) blocked inhibition induced by EFS. Purinergic neurotransmission did not affect Ca2+ transients in ICC-DMP. Purinergic neurotransmission elicits hyperpolarization of the SIP syncytium by activation of K+ channels in PDGFR alpha(+) cells. Generalized hyperpolarization of SIP cells by pinacidil (K-ATP agonist) or MRS2365 (P2Y1 agonist) also had no effect on Ca2+ transients in ICC-DMP. Peptidergic transmitter receptors (VIP and PACAP) are expressed in ICC and can modulate ICC-DMP Ca2+ transients. In summary Ca2+ transients in ICC-DMP are blocked by enteric inhibitory neurotransmission. ICC-DMP lack a voltage-dependentmechanismfor regulating Ca2+ release, and this protects Ca2+ handling in ICC-DMP from membrane potential changes in other SIP cells.