Ascending neural pathways in the rat ileum in vitro - Effect of capsaicin and involvement of nitric oxide

Hans Dieter Allescher, Daniel Sattler, Cordula Piller, Volker Schusdziarra, Meinhard Classen

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36 Scopus citations


The aim of the present study was to develop and characterize an in vitro model of the rat ileum in which activation of the orally projecting neural excitatory pathway of the myenteric reflex is produced by electrical field stimulation anally to the recording site. The motility of a 10-cm segment of rat ileum was recorded using a perfused manometric assembly with side holes 2 and 4 cm orally to the stimulation site. Electrical field stimulation caused a contractile response in the oral but not in the aboral direction of the stimulation site. The contractile response, which was maximal using low stimulus frequencies (3 or 5 pulses per second (pps)) and decreased with higher frequencies (10 or 20 pps), was blocked by atropine (10-6 M) at all frequencies tested after acute and after prolonged (> 30 min) treatment. The maximal contractile response at 3 pps was abolished by hexamethonium (10-4 M), tetrodotoxin (5 × 10-7 M) and by complete transection of the muscular wall between the stimulation and the recording site. Acute administration of capsaicin (8 × 10-7 M) to the bath reduced the lag between the start of the electrical stimulation and the onset of the contractile response. Higher concentrations of capsaicin (10-5 M) reduced the contractile response, but this was partly due to an unspecific effect of capsaicin. Blockade of nitric oxide (NO) synthesis by L-NG-nitro-arginine-methyl ester (L-NAME) (3 × -4 M) augmented the contractile response to anal stimulation by 222.4% and reduced the lag period by 54.5%, whereas the stereoisomer D-NAME had no significant effect. The potentiating effects of L-NAME were reversed in the presence of L-arginine (3 × 10-3 M) but not in the presence of the stereoisomer D-arginine (3 × 10-3 M). This model can be used to study ascending neural pathways in the rat small intestine. The ascending excitatory response is abolished by atropine and hexamethonium and is modulated by capsicin-sensitive fibers. The ascending pathway is under tonic inhibition of metabolites of the L-arginine-NO pathway.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-162
Number of pages10
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2-3
StatePublished - 7 Jul 1992


  • Capsaicin
  • Ileum (rat)
  • Intestinal motility
  • Nitric oxide (NO)
  • Small intestine


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