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Mechanism of Ghrelin-Induced Gastric Contractions in Suncus murinus (House Musk Shrew): Involvement of Intrinsic Primary Afferent Neurons

Public Library of Science
Publication Date
DOI: 10.1371/journal.pone.0060365
  • Research Article
  • Biology
  • Anatomy And Physiology
  • Digestive System
  • Digestive Physiology
  • Neurological System
  • Neural Pathways
  • Molecular Cell Biology
  • Signal Transduction
  • Membrane Receptor Signaling
  • Neurotransmitter Receptor Signaling
  • Neuroscience
  • Neurochemistry
  • Neurochemicals
  • Neurotransmitters
  • Medicine
  • Endocrinology
  • Endocrine Physiology
  • Neuroendocrinology
  • Gastroenterology And Hepatology
  • Stomach And Duodenum
  • Biology
  • Pharmacology


Here, we have reported that motilin can induce contractions in a dose-dependent manner in isolated Suncus murinus (house musk shrew) stomach. We have also shown that after pretreatment with a low dose of motilin (10−10 M), ghrelin also induces gastric contractions at levels of 10−10 M to 10−7 M. However, the neural mechanism of ghrelin action in the stomach has not been fully revealed. In the present study, we studied the mechanism of ghrelin-induced contraction in vitro using a pharmacological method. The responses to ghrelin in the stomach were almost completely abolished by hexamethonium and were significantly suppressed by the administration of phentolamine, prazosin, ondansetron, and naloxone. Additionally, N-nitro-l-arginine methylester significantly potentiated the contractions. Importantly, the mucosa is essential for ghrelin-induced, but not motilin-induced, gastric contractions. To evaluate the involvement of intrinsic primary afferent neurons (IPANs), which are multiaxonal neurons that pass signals from the mucosa to the myenteric plexus, we examined the effect of the IPAN-related pathway on ghrelin-induced contractions and found that pretreatment with adenosine and tachykinergic receptor 3 antagonists (SR142801) significantly eliminated the contractions and GR113808 (5-hydroxytryptamine receptor 4 antagonist) almost completely eliminated it. The results indicate that ghrelin stimulates and modulates suncus gastric contractions through cholinergic, adrenergic, serotonergic, opioidergic neurons and nitric oxide synthases in the myenteric plexus. The mucosa is also important for ghrelin-induced gastric contractions, and IPANs may be the important interneurons that pass the signal from the mucosa to the myenteric plexus.

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