Inhibitory neuropeptides and intrinsic inhibitory innervation of descending human colon

Timothy R. Koch, J. Aidan Carney, V. L.W. Go, Joseph H. Szurszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


The effects of aging on inhibitory neuropeptide concentrations and intrinsic inhibitory innervation of circular muscle were investigated using normal descending colon obtained at surgery. Immunoreactive vasoactive intestinal peptide, peptide histidine-methionine, met5-enkephalin, neuropeptide Y, and somatostatin were extracted from specimens of muscularis externa (patient ages: 19-84 years) and measured by radioimmunoassay. Intracellular electrical activity was recorded from strips of circular muscle (patients ages: 49-84 years) using glass microelectrodes; inhibitory junction potentials were evoked by electrical field stimulation. There were no significant differences (t tests:P>0.05) between neuropeptide concentrations in patients<70 years old (N=28) compared to patients≥70 years old (N=12). However, the amplitude of inhibitory junction potentials declined with increasing patient age (r=-0.58, P=0.02, N=16), with no change in resting membrane potentials (r=0.22;P>0.05). The decline in amplitude in women (r=-0.68, P=0.03, N=9) preceded the decline in men (r=-0.62, P=0.10, N=7). Age-related decline in inhibitory junction potentials could be related to decreased: density of inhibitory nerves, release of inhibitory neurotransmitter, density of binding sites for inhibitory neurotransmitter on smooth muscle, or a combination thereof. Alternatively, this decline might represent a change in interaction of inhibitory neurotransmitter with the smooth muscle membrane, such as a change in coupling of binding site with the potassium channel, decreased number of potassium channels, or altered permeability of the potassium channel.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)712-718
Number of pages7
JournalDigestive diseases and sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jun 1991


  • age-related change
  • human colon
  • neuropeptide
  • smooth muscle
  • vasoactive intestinal peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Gastroenterology


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