PubMed 16239271

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kv2.1

Title: Origin of spontaneous rhythmicity in smooth muscle.

Authors: Noel McHale, Mark Hollywood, Gerard Sergeant, Keith Thornbury

Journal, date & volume: J. Physiol. (Lond.), 2006 Jan 1 , 570, 23-8

PubMed link:

Rhythmic electrical activity is a feature of most smooth muscles but the mechanical consequences can vary from regular rapid phasic contractions to sustained contracture. For many years it was thought that spontaneous electrical activity originated in smooth muscle cells but recently it has become apparent that there are specialized pacemaker cells in many organs that are morphologically and functionally distinct from smooth muscle and that the former cells are the source of spontaneous electrical activity. Such a pacemaker function is well documented for the ICC of the gastrointestinal tract but evidence is accumulating that ICC-like cells play a similar role in other types of smooth muscle. We have recently shown that there are specialized pacemaking cells in the rabbit urethra which are spontaneously active when freshly isolated, readily distinguishable from smooth muscle cells under bright field illumination and relatively easy to study using patch-clamp and confocal imaging techniques. Recent results suggest that calcium oscillations in isolated rabbit urethral interstitial cells are initiated by calcium release from ryanodine sensitive intracellular stores, that oscillation frequency is very sensitive to the external calcium concentration and that conversion of the primary oscillation to a propagated calcium wave depends upon IP3-induced calcium release.