We tested the hypothesis that colonic enteric neurotransmission and smooth muscle cell (SMC) function are altered in mice fed a high-fat diet (HFD). We used wild-type (WT) mice and mice lacking the β1-subunit of the BK channel (BKβ1−/−). WT mice fed a HFD had increased myenteric plexus oxidative stress, a 28% decrease in nitrergic neurons, and a 20% decrease in basal nitric oxide (NO) levels. Circular muscle inhibitory junction potentials (IJPs) were reduced in HFD WT mice. The NO synthase inhibitor nitro-l-arginine (NLA) was less effective at inhibiting relaxations in HFD compared with control diet (CD) WT mice (11 vs. 37%, P < 0.05). SMCs from HFD WT mice had depolarized membrane potentials (−47 ± 2 mV) and continuous action potential firing compared with CD WT mice (−53 ± 2 mV, P < 0.05), which showed rhythmic firing. SMCs from HFD or CD fed BKβ1−/− mice fired action potentials continuously. NLA depolarized membrane potential and caused continuous firing only in SMCs from CD WT mice. Sodium nitroprusside (NO donor) hyperpolarized membrane potential and changed continuous to rhythmic action potential firing in SMCs from HFD WT and BKβ1−/− mice. Migrating motor complexes were disrupted in colons from BKβ1−/− mice and HFD WT mice. BK channel α-subunit protein and β1-subunit mRNA expression were similar in CD and HFD WT mice. We conclude that HFD-induced obesity disrupts inhibitory neuromuscular transmission, SMC excitability, and colonic motility by promoting oxidative stress, loss of nitrergic neurons, and SMC BK channel dysfunction.
- enteric nervous system
- large conductance calcium-activated K+ channel
- gastrointestinal motility
- Copyright © 2016 the American Physiological Society
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