Apamin distinguishes two types of relaxation mediated by enteric nerves in the guinea-pig gastrointestinal tract

M. Costa, J. B. Furness, C. M.S. Humphreys

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    149 Citations (Scopus)


    Eight smooth muscle preparations from the stomach, small intestine and large intestine of the guinea-pig were used to compare apamin's actions in reducing the effectiveness of transmission from enteric inhibitory nerves and in reducing responses to inhibitory agonists α,β-methylene ATP, VIP and isoprenaline. The effects of apamin on inhibitory reflexes in the ileum and colon were also evaluated. Apamin had little or no effect on responses to VIP and isoprenaline in any region, but consistently and substantially reduced responses to α,β-methylene ATP. Responses to stimulation of enteric inhibitory neurons were substantially reduced by apamin in the antrum circular muscle, ileum longitudinal and circular muscle, taenia coli and distal colon longitudinal muscle, but it was ineffective in the fundus circular muscle, proximal colon longitudinal muscle and distal colon circular muscle. It caused a small reduction of the relaxation of the ileal circular muscle caused reflexly by distension, but did not modify the similar descending inhibitory reflex in the circular muscle of the colon. It is concluded that apamin can be used to distinguish two types of non-noradrenergic transmission from enteric inhibitory nerves to gastrointestinal muscle. Furthermore, neither VIP nor ATP can be the sole transmitter chemical released from enteric inhibitory neurons throughout the gastrointestinal tract.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)79-88
    Number of pages10
    JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
    Issue number1
    Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 1986


    • Adenosine triphosphate
    • Apamin
    • Enteric inhibitory neurons
    • Intestinal reflexes
    • Neurotransmitters
    • Vasoactive intestinal peptide


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