Contraction mediated by Ca2+ influx in esophageal muscle and by Ca2+ release in the LES

P. Biancani, C. Hillemeier, K. N. Bitar, G. M. Makhlouf

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

101 Scopus citations


Single cells and whole tissue specimens were used in this study to determine sources of Ca2+ utilized for contraction of the circular muscle layer of esophagus and lower esophageal sphincter (LES) of the cat. In vitro circular muscle specimens from the cat esophagus respond to electrical stimulation with phasic contractions at the end of the stimulus, whereas the LES spontaneously maintains tonic contraction and relaxes during stimulation. In Ca2+-free buffer, esophageal contractions rapidly decline and disappear within 10 min after the removal of Ca2+, while LES tone is only partially reduced. Similarly, incubation in a solution containing the Ca2+ influx blocker, La3+, abolishes esophageal contraction but only partially decreases LES tone. Conversely, strontium and caffeine substantially reduce LES tone without affecting the amplitude of esophageal contractions. In single muscle cells isolated by enzymatic digestion from the LES and the body of the esophagus, blockade of extracellular Ca2+ influx by methoxyverapamil (D 600) or ethyleneglycol-bis(β-aminoethylether)N,N'-tetraacetic acid abolished esophageal contraction in response to acetylcholine without affecting LES cells, and conversely, strontium abolished LES contraction without affecting esophageal cells. These data are consistent with the view that extracellular Ca2+ is required to initiate esophageal phasic contraction, while the LES has the ability to utilize intracellular Ca2+ to maintain resting tone and to contract in response to acetylcholine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G760-G766
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number6 (16/6)
StatePublished - 1987

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


Dive into the research topics of 'Contraction mediated by Ca2+ influx in esophageal muscle and by Ca2+ release in the LES'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this