Physiological study of interstitial cells of Cajal identified by vital staining

A. Rich, M. Hanani, L. G. Ermilov, J. Malysz, V. Belzer, J. H. Szurszewski, G. Farrugia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) form networks that intercalate between the enteric nervous system and smooth muscle cells and play a fundamental role in the control of gastrointestinal motility by initiating rhythmic electrical activity. In this report, we used a method to examine the physiological and morphological properties of ICC in living, intact tissues. ACK2, an anti-Kit antibody, was conjugated to a fluorescent probe and used to identify individual ICC for intracellular electrical recordings, to record changes in intracellular calcium concentration using fluorescent dyes and for confocal microscopy. Cyclic changes in intracellular calcium concentration were recorded in ICC with a frequency similar to the electrical slow wave. In addition, injection of a fluorescent dye into single ICC enabled the three-dimensional reconstruction of single myenteric plexus ICC within the intact network. The data show that ICC in intact networks from the myenteric plexus region in living tissues in the guinea-pig antrum exhibit an electrical slow wave, and that intracellular calcium oscillates at a frequency similar to the slow wave.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)189-196
Number of pages8
JournalNeurogastroenterology and Motility
Issue number2
StatePublished - 2002


  • 3-D reconstruction
  • Calcium imaging
  • Electrophysiology
  • Motility
  • Pacemaker

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Gastroenterology


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