Intercellular coupling of interstitial cells of cajal in the digestive tract

Menachem Hanani, Gianrico Farrugia, Terumasa Komuro

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) are essential for the normal function of the digestive tract, both as pacemakers and as intermediates between nerves and smooth muscle cells. To perform their functions ICC must be electrically coupled both among themselves and to the muscle layers. This review focuses on the role gap junctions play in coupling ICC to ICC, providing a summary of the published literature as well as a critical appraisal of the data. Most of the experimental evidence for gap junction coupling of ICC networks is indirect, and consists of the ultrastructural observation of gap junctions. Dye coupling studies provide consistent support for the role of gap junctions among ICC of certain types. Physiological evidence in support of this role is scarce. The nature of ICC to smooth muscle coupling is even less certain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)249-282
Number of pages34
JournalInternational Review of Cytology
StatePublished - 2004


  • Cajal
  • Connexin
  • Electrical coupling
  • Gap junctions
  • Gastrointestinal tract
  • Interstitial cells
  • Smooth muscle

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Histology
  • Cell Biology


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