Cholinergic-adrenergic interactions on intestinal ion transport

E. J. Tapper, D. W. Powell, S. M. Morris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle


The autonomic control of intestinal electrolyte transport has been investigated in the in vitro, short-circuited rabbit ileum with varying doses of carbachol and with neuroeffector blocking agents. Low-dose carbachol (<10-6 M) and high-dose carbachol (>10-4 M) had different effects on Na and Cl transport. Low-dose carbachol caused a transient increase in the potential difference and short-circuit current, stimulated Cl secretion, and inhibited the residual flux (probably HCO3 secretion). This is a muscarinic response since it is inhibited by atropine (10-6 M). After an initial increase of the potential difference and short-circuit current, high-dose carbachol reduced these electrical parameters, stimulated Na and Cl absorption, and abolished the residual flux. This is a nicotinic response since it is inhibited by hexamethonium (10-5 M). This nicotinic response is identical to that reported by others with α-adrenergic agents and it was inhibited also by phentolamine (10-7 M). The authors propose high-dose carbachol stimulates nicotinic receptors on postganglionic sympathetic fibers present in their preparations causing a release of catecholamines and a resulting α-adrenergic response by the intestinal epithelial cell. The physiological significance of this response in the gut remains to be determined.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology Endocrinology Metabolism and Gastrointestinal Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1978
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)

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