The Traditional Medicine Banhasasim-Tang Depolarizes Pacemaker Potentials of Cultured Interstitial Cells of Cajal through M3 Muscarinic and 5-HT3 Receptors in Murine Small Intestine

Digestion. 2019 Jun 11;1-16. doi: 10.1159/000501074. Online ahead of print.


Background: Banhasasim-tang (BHSST) is a classic herbal formulation in traditional Chinese medicine widely used for gastrointestinal (GI) tract motility disorder. We investigated the effects of BHSST on the pacemaker potentials of cultured interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) in small intestine in vitro and its effects on GI motor functions in vivo.

Methods: We isolated ICCs from the small intestines and recorded pacemaker potentials in cultured ICCs with the whole-cell patch-clamp configuration in vitro. Intestinal transit rates (ITR%) were investigated in normal mice and GI motility dysfunction (GMD) mouse models in vivo.

Results: BHSST (20-50 mg/mL) depolarized pacemaker potentials and decreased their amplitudes in a concentration-dependent manner. Pretreatment with methoctramine (a muscarinic M2 receptor antagonist) did not inhibit BHSST-induced pacemaker potential depolarization. However, when we applied 1,1-dimethyl-4-diphenylacetoxypiperidinium iodide (4-DAMP; a muscarinic M3 receptor antagonist), BHSST-induced effects were blocked. Pretreatment with Y25130 (a 5-HT3 receptor antagonist) blocked BHSST-induced effects in ICCs. In addition, when we applied 4-DAMP and Y25130 together, BHSST-induced effects were completely blocked. Pretreatment with Ca2+-free solution or thapsigargin inhibited BHSST-induced effects. Moreover, BHSST blocked both the transient receptor potential melastatin (TRPM) 7 and voltage-sensitive calcium-activated chloride (anoctamin-1, ANO1) channels. In normal mice, ITR% values were significantly increased by BHSST in a dose-dependent manner. The ITR% of GMD mice was significantly reduced relative to those of normal mice, which were significantly reversed by BHSST in a dose-dependent manner.

Conclusion: These results suggested that BHSST depolarizes the pacemaker potentials of ICCs in a dose-dependent manner through the M3 and 5-HT3 receptors via internal and external Ca2+-dependent and TRPM7- and ANO1-independent pathways in vitro. Moreover, BHSST increased ITR% in vivo in normal mice and GMD mouse models. Taken together, the results of this study showed that BHSST had the potential for development as a prokinetic agent in GI motility function.

Keywords: 5-HT receptor; Banhasasim-tang; Interstitial cells of Cajal; Intestinal motility; Intestinal transit rates; Muscarinic receptor; Pacemaker potentials.