[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are intimately linked to the enteric nervous system and a better understanding of the interactions between the two systems is going to advance our understanding of gut motor control. The objective of the present study was to investigate the role of ICC in the generation of gastric motor activity induced by cholinergic neurotransmission.
Gastric motor activity was evoked through activation of intrinsic cholinergic neural activity, in in vitro muscle strips by electrical field stimulation, in the in vitro whole stomach by distension and in vivo by fluoroscopy after gavaging the stomach with barium sulfate. The cholinergic activity was assessed as that component of the effect of the stimulus that was sensitive to atropine. These experiments were carried out in wild-type and Ws/Ws rats that have few intramuscular ICC (ICC-IM) in the stomach. Key
Under all three experimental conditions, cholinergic activity was prominent in both wild-type and W mutant rats providing evidence against the hypothesis that cholinergic neurotransmission to smooth muscle is primarily mediated by ICC-IM. Strong cholinergic activity in Ws/Ws rats was not due to upregulation of muscarinic receptors in ICC but possibly in smooth muscle of the antrum.
Pacemaker ICC play a prominent role in the expression of motor activity induced by cholinergic activity and our data suggest that cholinergic neurotransmission to ICC affects the pacemaker frequency.
Full-text · Article · Sep 2011 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are associated with afferent innervation and peristalsis of the stomach suggestive of a key role in the pathophysiology of gastroparesis. We studied changes in the density and ultrastructure of ICC and enteric nerves in the streptozotocin-induced diabetes mellitus (STZ-DM) in Wistar rats using immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Gastric emptying was studied in vivo by single-photon emission computed tomography. In the STZ-DM antrum, a marked reduction was observed in the density of the intramuscular ICC (ICC-IM) and ICC located at the submucosal border of the circular muscle layer of the antrum (ICC-SM). The surviving ICC showed lamellar bodies and partial vacuolation of the cytoplasm content, loss of connections between ICC-IM and nerves; it appeared that injured ICC-IM developed into fibroblast-like ICC. ICC associated with Auerbach's plexus (ICC-AP) in the antrum and ICC in the fundus were not affected significantly except for a loss of connections with nerve structures. Marked reduction in nerve tissue (Protein Gene Product-9.5 positivity) was also restricted to the muscle layers including nitrergic nerves (neuronal nitric oxide synthase positivity). In vivo assessed gastric emptying was markedly reduced in STZ-DM rats. Our data demonstrate in the STZ-DM rat stomach a decreased density of ICC limited to the antrum and to ICC-IM and ICC-SM, and structural degeneration in ICC-IM and associated nerves with a special emphasis on loss of synaptic connections, accompanied by a decrease in gastric emptying. Hence, in this model of gastroparetic diabetes, regional injury to subsets of ICC and nerves are associated with gastric motor dysfunction.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2009 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: To assess whether afferent vagal intramuscular arrays (IMAs), putative gastrointestinal mechanoreceptors, form contacts with interstitial cells of Cajal of the intramuscular type (ICC-IM) and to describe any such contacts, electron microscopic analyses were performed on the external muscle layers of the fundus containing dextran-labelled diaminobenzidin (DAB)-stained IMAs. Special staining and embedding techniques were developed to preserve ultrastructural features. Within the muscle layers, IMA varicosities were observed in nerve bundles traversing major septa without contact with ICC-IM, contacting unlabelled neurites and glial cells. IMA varicosities were encountered in minor septa in contact with ICC-IM which were not necessarily in close contact with muscle cells. In addition, IMA varicosities were observed within muscle bundles in close contact with ICC-IM which were in gap junction contact with muscle cells. IMAs formed varicosities containing predominantly small agranular vesicles, occasionally large granular vesicles and prejunctional thickenings in apposition to ICC-IM processes, indicating communication between ICC and IMA via synapse-like contacts. Taken together, these different morphological features are consistent with a hypothesized mechanoreceptor role for IMA-ICC complexes. Intraganglionic laminar ending varicosities contacted neuronal somata and dendrites in the myenteric plexus of the fundus, but no contacts with ICC associated with Auerbach's plexus were encountered.
Full-text · Article · Feb 2008 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The distribution of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) and neurotransmission were investigated in lower oesophageal sphincter (LES) circular muscle strips from Sprague-Dawley (SD) rats, Ws/Ws mutant rats and their wild-type (+/+) siblings. Intramuscular c-Kit-positive cells, confirmed to be ICC-IM by electron microscopy, were observed throughout both muscle layers from SD and +/+ rats. In contrast, c-Kit-positive, ultrastructurally typical ICC-IM were absent in Ws/Ws. LES strips from Ws/Ws rats showed increased spontaneous contractile activity. Strips from SD and +/+ rats, responded to electrical neuronal stimulation with a relaxation that was in part L-NNA and in part apamin sensitive, followed by a contraction which was decreased by atropine. In Ws/Ws rats, similar to +/+ rats, neurally mediated relaxation was L-NNA and apamin sensitive and the contraction was decreased by atropine. We conclude that in the rat LES, relaxation is mediated by NO and an apamin-sensitive mediator, and contraction primarily by acetylcholine. Despite the absence of c-Kit-positive ICC, nerve-muscle interaction can be accomplished likely by diffusion of neurotransmitters to the smooth muscle cells. The lack of c-Kit-positive ICC is related to an increase in the basal tone and spontaneous contractile activity. The presence of fibroblast-like ICC in Ws/Ws rats might represent immature ICC whose possible functions need further investigation.
Full-text · Article · Jul 2007 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Crohn's disease associated dysmotility has been attributed to fibrosis and damage to enteric nerves but injury to interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) could also be involved. We assessed ICC in specimens obtained from patients with Crohn's disease and determined the relation between ICC and the inflammatory infiltrate, particularly mast cells (MC) using quantitative immunohistochemistry and electron microscopy. Ultrastructural injury to ICC was patchy in all ICC subtypes but ICC-Auerbach's plexus (AP) showed damage more frequently, i.e. swelling of mitochondria, decreased electron density, autophagosomes and partial depletion of the cytoplasm. Light microscopy confirmed a significant decrease in c-kit immunoreactivity for ICC-AP and an increased number of MC in the muscularis externa. Electron microscopy showed MC exhibiting piecemeal degranulation and making frequent and selective membrane-to-membrane contact with all types of injured ICC which suggests chronic release of granule content to affect ICC. Extent of ICC injury was not associated with duration of the disease. In conclusion, ultrastructural injury and loss of ICC-AP is evident in Crohn's disease. Epidemiological and morphological data suggest that ICC have the capacity to regenerate in spite of the chronic insult. The muscularis hosts a marked number of MC that exhibit piecemeal degranulation associated with ICC and may facilitate ICC maintenance.
Full-text · Article · Jun 2007 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: With functional evidence emerging that interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) play a role in smooth muscle innervation, detailed knowledge is needed about the structural aspects of enteric innervation of the human gut. Conventional electronmicroscopy (EM), immunohistochemistry and immuno-EM were performed on the musculature of the distal human ileum focusing on ICC associated with the deep muscular plexus (ICC-DMP) and intramuscular ICC (ICC-IM). ICC-DMP could be identified by EM but not by c-Kit immunohistochemistry. Immuno-EM revealed that ICC-DMP were innervated by both cholinergic and nitrergic nerves, and were the only cells to possess specialized synapse-like junctions with nerve varicosities and gap junction contacts with smooth muscle cells. c-Kit positive ICC near the deep muscular plexus were not ICC-DMP, but ICC-IM located in septa. ICC-IM were innervated by both cholinergic and nitrergic nerves but without specialized contacts. Varicosities of both nerve types were also found scattered throughout the musculature without specialized contact with any ICC. No ICC showed immunoreactivity for neuronal nitric oxide synthase. As ICC-DMP form synapse-like junctions with cholinergic and nitrergic nerves and gap junction contacts with muscle cells, it is hypothesized that ICC-DMP hold a specialized function related to innervation of smooth muscle of the human intestine.
Full-text · Article · Nov 2003 · Neurogastroenterology and Motility
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Delayed gastric emptying can be due to muscular, neural, or humoral abnormalities. In the absence of an identified cause, gastroparesis is labelled as idiopathic. We present the case of a patient with severe idiopathic gastroparesis. Pharmacological approaches failed, as well as reduction in gastric emptying resistance with pyloric injection of botulinum toxin and pyloroplasty. Therefore, subtotal gastrectomy was performed. Histological and immunohistochemical study of the resected specimen showed hypoganglionosis, neuronal dysplasia, and a marked reduction in both myenteric and intramuscular interstitial cells of Cajal. To our knowledge, this is the first time these rare histological findings have been described in a patient with idiopathic gastroparesis.