The pacemaker activity of interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) has been known to initiate the propagation of slow waves along the whole gastrointestinal tract through spontaneous and repetitive generation of action potentials. We studied the mechanism of the pacemaker activity of ICCs in the mouse small intestine and tested it using a mathematical model. The model includes ion channels, exchanger, pumps and intracellular machinery for Ca2+ regulation. The model also incorporates inositol 1,4,5-triphosphate (IP3) production and IP3-mediated Ca2+ release activities. Most of the parameters were obtained from the literature and were modified to fit the experimental results of ICCs from mouse small intestine. We were then able to compose a mathematical model that simulates the pacemaker activity of ICCs. The model generates pacemaker potentials regularly and repetitively as long as the simulation continues. The frequency was set at 20 min−1 and the duration at 50% repolarization was 639 ms. The resting and overshoot potentials were −78 and +1.2 mV, respectively. The reconstructed pacemaker potentials closely matched those obtained from animal experiments. The model supports the idea that cyclic changes in [Ca2+]i and [IP3] play key roles in the generation of ICC pacemaker activity in the mouse small intestine.
One contribution of 13 to a Theme Issue ‘Biomathematical modelling I’.
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