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      Control of Motility in the Internal Anal Sphincter

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          The internal anal sphincter (IAS) plays an important role in the maintenance of fecal continence since it generates tone and is responsible for > 70% of resting anal pressure. During normal defecation the IAS relaxes. Historically, tone generation in gastrointestinal muscles was attributed to mechanisms arising directly from smooth muscle cells, ie, myogenic activity. However, slow waves are now known to play a fundamental role in regulating gastrointestinal motility and these electrical events are generated by the interstitial cells of Cajal. Recently, interstitial cells of Cajal, as well as slow waves, have also been identified in the IAS making them viable candidates for tone generation. In this review we discuss four different mechanisms that likely contribute to tone generation in the IAS. Three of these involve membrane potential, L-type Ca 2+ channels and electromechanical coupling (ie, summation of asynchronous phasic activity, partial tetanus, and window current), whereas the fourth involves the regulation of myofilament Ca 2+ sensitivity. Contractile activity in the IAS is also modulated by sympathetic motor neurons that significantly increase tone and anal pressure, as well as inhibitory motor neurons (particularly nitrergic and vasoactive intestinal peptidergic) that abolish contraction and assist with normal defecation. Alterations in IAS motility are associated with disorders such as fecal incontinence and anal fissures that significantly decrease the quality of life. Understanding in greater detail how tone is regulated in the IAS is important for developing more effective treatment strategies for these debilitating defecation disorders.

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          Most cited references 137

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          cGMP-dependent protein kinases and cGMP phosphodiesterases in nitric oxide and cGMP action.

          To date, studies suggest that biological signaling by nitric oxide (NO) is primarily mediated by cGMP, which is synthesized by NO-activated guanylyl cyclases and broken down by cyclic nucleotide phosphodiesterases (PDEs). Effects of cGMP occur through three main groups of cellular targets: cGMP-dependent protein kinases (PKGs), cGMP-gated cation channels, and PDEs. cGMP binding activates PKG, which phosphorylates serines and threonines on many cellular proteins, frequently resulting in changes in activity or function, subcellular localization, or regulatory features. The proteins that are so modified by PKG commonly regulate calcium homeostasis, calcium sensitivity of cellular proteins, platelet activation and adhesion, smooth muscle contraction, cardiac function, gene expression, feedback of the NO-signaling pathway, and other processes. Current therapies that have successfully targeted the NO-signaling pathway include nitrovasodilators (nitroglycerin), PDE5 inhibitors [sildenafil (Viagra and Revatio), vardenafil (Levitra), and tadalafil (Cialis and Adcirca)] for treatment of a number of vascular diseases including angina pectoris, erectile dysfunction, and pulmonary hypertension; the PDE3 inhibitors [cilostazol (Pletal) and milrinone (Primacor)] are used for treatment of intermittent claudication and acute heart failure, respectively. Potential for use of these medications in the treatment of other maladies continues to emerge.
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            Signal transduction by G-proteins, rho-kinase and protein phosphatase to smooth muscle and non-muscle myosin II.

             A P Somlyo (2000)
            We here review mechanisms that can regulate the activity of myosin II, in smooth muscle and non-muscle cells, by modulating the Ca2+ sensitivity of myosin regulatory light chain (RLC) phosphorylation. The major mechanism of Ca2+ sensitization of smooth muscle contraction and non-muscle cell motility is through inhibition of the smooth muscle myosin phosphatase (MLCP) that dephosphorylates the RLC in smooth muscle and non-muscle. The active, GTP-bound form of the small GTPase RhoA activates a serine/threonine kinase, Rho-kinase, that phosphorylates the regulatory subunit of MLCP and inhibits phosphatase activity. G-protein-coupled release of arachidonic acid may also contribute to inhibition of MLCP acting, at least in part, through the Rho/Rho-kinase pathway. Protein kinase C(s) activated by phorbol esters and diacylglycerol can also inhibit MLCP by phosphorylating and thereby activating CPI-17, an inhibitor of its catalytic subunit; this mechanism is independent of the Rho/Rho-kinase pathway and plays only a minor, transient role in the G-protein-coupled mechanism of Ca2+ sensitization. Ca2+ sensitization by the Rho/Rho-kinase pathway contributes to the tonic phase of agonist-induced contraction in smooth muscle, and abnormally increased activation of myosin II by this mechanism is thought to play a role in diseases such as high blood pressure and cancer cell metastasis.
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              Interstitial cells: regulators of smooth muscle function.

              Smooth muscles are complex tissues containing a variety of cells in addition to muscle cells. Interstitial cells of mesenchymal origin interact with and form electrical connectivity with smooth muscle cells in many organs, and these cells provide important regulatory functions. For example, in the gastrointestinal tract, interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC) and PDGFRα(+) cells have been described, in detail, and represent distinct classes of cells with unique ultrastructure, molecular phenotypes, and functions. Smooth muscle cells are electrically coupled to ICC and PDGFRα(+) cells, forming an integrated unit called the SIP syncytium. SIP cells express a variety of receptors and ion channels, and conductance changes in any type of SIP cell affect the excitability and responses of the syncytium. SIP cells are known to provide pacemaker activity, propagation pathways for slow waves, transduction of inputs from motor neurons, and mechanosensitivity. Loss of interstitial cells has been associated with motor disorders of the gut. Interstitial cells are also found in a variety of other smooth muscles; however, in most cases, the physiological and pathophysiological roles for these cells have not been clearly defined. This review describes structural, functional, and molecular features of interstitial cells and discusses their contributions in determining the behaviors of smooth muscle tissues.

                Author and article information

                J Neurogastroenterol Motil
                J Neurogastroenterol Motil
                Journal of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
                Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility
                April 2019
                30 April 2019
                : 25
                : 2
                : 189-204
                Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV, USA
                Author notes
                [* ]Correspondence: Kathleen D Keef, PhD, Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, University of Nevada, Reno School of Medicine, Reno, NV 89557, USA Tel: +1-775-784-4302, Fax: +1-775-784-6903, E-mail: kkeef@ 123456med.unr.edu
                © 2019 The Korean Society of Neurogastroenterology and Motility

                This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial License ( http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0) which permits unrestricted non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.



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