Pacemaker activity in septal structures of canine colonic circular muscle

Am J Physiol. 1990 Aug;259(2 Pt 1):G264-73. doi: 10.1152/ajpgi.1990.259.2.G264.


Morphological and electrophysiological experiments were performed to characterize the pacemaker areas of the circular muscle in the canine proximal colon. Morphological studies showed interstitial cells of Cajal lining the submucosal surface of the circular layer and the septal structures that separate the circular layer into bundles. Electrical measurements suggested that slow waves may propagate into the thickness of the circular muscle in a regenerative manner along the surface of these septa. Removal of the submucosal pacemaker region blocked generation of slow waves in nonseptal regions of the circular muscle, but slow-wave activity continued in the circular muscle near septa. These data suggest that slow-wave pacemaker activity is not limited to a two-dimensional surface at the submucosal surface but extends into the interior of the circular layer along septal invaginations. Experiments were also performed to determine the dominance of pacemaker activity (i.e., septal vs. submucosal), and examples were found in which both areas appeared to initiate slow waves in intact muscles. Other studies showed that slow waves could propagate across septa, suggesting some form of electrical coupling between circular muscle bundles. This study provides a more complete view of the structure and function of pacemaker areas in the canine proximal colon.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Colon / cytology
  • Colon / physiology*
  • Colon / ultrastructure
  • Dogs
  • Female
  • Gastrointestinal Motility
  • Intestinal Mucosa / cytology
  • Male
  • Membrane Potentials
  • Microscopy, Electron
  • Muscle, Smooth / cytology
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Muscle, Smooth / ultrastructure