The transwall gradient across the mouse colonic circular muscle layer is carbon monoxide dependent

L. Sha, G. Farrugia, D. R. Linden, J. H. Szurszewski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Scopus citations


Gastric and small intestinal circular smooth muscle layers have a transwall resting membrane potential (RMP) gradient that is dependent on release of carbon monoxide (CO) from interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs). Our aim was to determine whether a RMP gradient exists in the mouse colon and whether the gradient is CO dependent. Microelectrodes were used to record RMPs from muscle cells at different depths of the circular muscle layer from wild-type and heme oxygenase-2-knockout (HO-2-KO) mice. A transwall RMP gradient was present in wild-type mice. The CO scavenger oxyhemoglobin (20 μM) and the heme oxygenase inhibitor chromium mesoporphyrin IX (CrMP, 5 μM) abolished the transwall gradient. The gradient was absent in HO-2-KO mice. Tetrodotoxin (1 μM) caused a significant depolarization in circular smooth muscle cells throughout the circular muscle layer and abolished the transwall gradient. Removal of the submucosal neurons abolished the gradient. The majority of submucosal neurons contained HO-2 immunoreactivity (HO-2-IR), while ICCs did not. These data show for the first time that a transwall gradient exists across the circular smooth muscle layer of the mouse colon, that the gradient is due to CO, and that the source of CO is the submucosal neurons.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3840-3849
Number of pages10
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 2010


  • Heme oxygenase-2
  • Interstitial cells of Cajal
  • Smooth muscle
  • Submucosal ganglion neurons

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biotechnology
  • Biochemistry
  • Molecular Biology
  • Genetics


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