Peristalsis and fecal pellet propulsion do not require nicotinic, purinergic, 5-HT3, or NK3 receptors in isolated guinea pig distal colon

Sarah Nicholas, Nicholas Spencer

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The neuronal mechanism by which distension of the colon triggers peristalsis and the propulsion of colonic contents is incompletely understood. In this study, we used video imaging and spatiotemporal mapping techniques to investigate the neuroneuronal mechanisms underlying peristalsis in isolated guinea pig distal colon. In direct contrast to previous studies, we found that hexamethonium (100 μM-1 mM) or mecamylamine (20 μM) never abolished peristalsis or fecal pellet propulsion, although a temporary blockade of peristalsis was common, giving the impression perhaps that peristalsis was blocked permanently. During the initiation of peristalsis, the intraluminal propulsive force applied to an inserted fecal pellet was significantly reduced by hexamethonium 100 μM, even though, once initiated, the propagation velocity of fecal pellets was never reduced by nicotinic antagonists. In the presence of hexamethonium or mecamylamine, further addition of PPADS (10 μM), ondansetron (1 μM), and SR 142801 (300 nM) had no inhibitory effect on the propagation velocity of fecal pellets. In these preparations, antagonists for nicotinic, purinergic (P2), serotonergic (5-HT3), or tachykinergic (NK3) receptors always abolished responses to the agonists for these receptors, confirming that when peristalsis occurred, nicotinic, P2, 5-HT3, and NK3 receptors were blocked. Tetrodotoxin abolished nonnicotinic peristalsis. In summary, nicotinic transmission contributes to excitatory neuroneuronal transmission underlying peristalsis and fecal pellet propulsion but is not required for peristalsis, nor fecal pellet propulsion, as once thought. These observations could be explained by an excitatory nonnicotinic neuroneuronal pathway that can generate peristalsis and induce normal fecal pellet propagation velocities but does not require nicotinic, P2, 5-HT3, or NK3 receptors.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)G952-G961
    Number of pages10
    JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology-Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
    Issue number6
    Publication statusPublished - Jun 2010


    • Afferent
    • Enteric
    • Mechanosensory
    • Reflex
    • Sensory neuron
    • Synaptic


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