Activation of whole cell currents in isolated human jejunal circular smooth muscle cells by carbon monoxide

G. Farrugia, W. A. Irons, J. L. Rae, M. G. Sarr, J. H. Szurszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Carbon monoxide (CO) is a low molecular weight oxide produced endogenously from fatty acids and heme protein. A physiological role for CO has been suggested for vascular smooth muscle, hemostasis, and olfactory neurons, but direct evidence is lacking. Heme oxygenase, which catalyzes the formation of CO from heme proteins, is present in small intestinal smooth muscle. The effect of 1% CO on whole cell currents in normal human jejunal circular muscle cells was studied with the use of a perforated patch-clamp technique. A 1% CO-containing Krebs solution caused an initial and transient increase in whole cell current in 20 of 22 cells tested (175 ± 40%, mean ± SE) and a transient hyperpolarization (15.6 ± 3.6 mV, mean ± SE) of the membrane potential. During prolonged recordings, 1% CO evoked ongoing cyclic increases and decreases in the whole cell current. Each current increase was accompanied by a sharp membrane hyperpolarization. These data suggest that CO may modulate whole cell potassium current and membrane potential.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G1184-G1189
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6 27-6
StatePublished - 1993


  • leak current
  • patch clamp
  • potassium current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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