Effects of brain stem cholecystokinin-8s on gastric tone and esophagealgastric reflex

Gregory M. Holmes, Melissa Tong, R. Alberto Travagli

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27 Scopus citations


The actions of cholecystokinin (CCK) on gastrointestinal functions occur mainly via paracrine effects on peripheral sensory vagal fibers, which engage vago-vagal brain stem circuits to convey effector responses back to the gastrointestinal tract. Recent evidence suggests, however, that CCK also affects brain stem structures directly. Many electrophysiological studies, including our own, have shown that brain stem vagal circuits are excited by sulfated CCK (CCK-8s) directly, and we have further demonstrated that CCK-8s induces a remarkable degree of plasticity in GABAergic brain stem synapses. In the present study, we used fasted, anesthetized Sprague-Dawley rats to investigate the effects of brain stem administration of CCK-8s on gastric tone before and after activation of the esophageal-gastric reflex. CCK-8s microinjected in the dorsal vagal complex (DVC) or applied on the floor of the fourth ventricle induced an immediate and transient decrease in gastric tone. Upon recovery of gastric tone to baseline values, the gastric relaxation induced by esophageal distension was attenuated or even reversed. The effects of CCK-8s were antagonized by vagotomy or fourth ventricular, but not intravenous, administration of the CCK-A antagonist lorglumide, suggesting a central, not peripheral, site of action. The gastric relaxation induced by DVC microinjection of CCK-8s was unaffected by pretreatment with systemic bethanecol but was completely blocked by N G-nitro-L-arginine methyl ester, suggesting a nitrergic mechanism of action. These data suggest that 1) brain stem application of CCK-8s induces a vagally mediated gastric relaxation; 2) the CCK-8s-induced gastric relaxation is mediated via activation of nonadrenergic, noncholinergic pathways; and 3) CCK-8s reverses the esophageal-gastric reflex transiently.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)G621-G631
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2009

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology
  • Physiology (medical)


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