Background: Methane has been associated with constipation-predominant irritable bowel syndrome, slowing intestinal transit time by augmenting contractile activity. However, the precise mechanism underlying this effect remains unclear. Therefore, we investigated the mechanisms underlying the effect of methane on contractile activity, and whether such effects are mediated by nerve impulses or muscular contraction. Methods: We connected guinea pig ileal muscle strips to a force/tension transducer and measured amplitudes of contraction in response to electrical field stimulation (EFS; 1, 2, 8, 16 Hz) following methane infusion in the presence of tetradotoxin (TTX), atropine, guanethidine, or GR 113808. We then performed calcium imaging using Oregon Green 488 BAPTA-1 AM in order to visualize changes in calcium fluorescence in response to EFS following methane infusion in the presence of TTX, atropine, or a high K+ solution. Key Results: Methane significantly increased amplitudes of contraction (P<.05), while treatment with TTX abolished such contraction. Methane-induced increases in amplitude were inhibited when lower-frequency (1, 2 Hz) EFS was applied following atropine infusion (P<.05). Neither guanethidine nor GR 113808 significantly altered contraction amplitudes. Methane significantly increased calcium fluorescence, while this increase was attenuated following atropine infusion (P<.05). Although calcium fluorescence was increased by the high K+ solution under pretreatment with TTX, the intensity of fluorescence remained unchanged after methane infusion. Conclusions and Inferences: The actions of methane on the intestine are influenced by the cholinergic pathway of the enteric nervous system. Our findings support the classification of methane as a gasotransmitter.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Endocrine and Autonomic Systems