Real-time measurement of serotonin release and motility in guinea pig ileum

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Enterochromaffin (EC) cells are sensors that detect chemical or mechanical stimuli and respond with release of serotonin (5-HT). 5-HT activates local motor reflexes, but whether local motor reflexes also evoke 5-HT release is unknown. The aim of the present study was to establish the relationship between the release of 5-HT and the enteric neural circuits controlling the movements of the intestine. Recordings were made from full-thickness preparations of guinea pig ileum using electrochemical techniques with carbon fibre electrodes to measure local concentrations of 5-HT. The tension in the circular muscle (CM) and longitudinal muscle (LM) was recorded with force transducers. The release of 5-HT from the EC cells was detected selectively and the timing of the events quantified. Pressure-evoked peristalsis caused detectable 5-HT release only when the recording site was invaded by a ring of CM contraction. Spontaneous and stretch-evoked reflex contraction of the CM and LM occurred simultaneously with 5-HT release. Paralysis of the smooth muscle significantly reduced the stretch-evoked release. Muscarinic agonists evoked reflexes that were associated with increases in tension in CM and LM simultaneous with 5-HT release. Tetrodotoxin abolished the coordination between the CM contraction and 5-HT release but not the direct activation of the CM and EC cells by the agonists. In conclusion, the correlation between local motor reflexes and 5-HT release observed in the present study is caused primarily by the contraction of the smooth muscle and subsequent deformation of the mucosa. The EC cell is, thus, a site of convergence for mechanical forces that contribute to the release of 5-HT during motor reflexes.
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Bertrand, P. P
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Journal Article
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UNSW Faculty
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