Calcium-sensing receptor (CaSR) is expressed on neurons of both submucosal and myenteric plexuses of the enteric nervous system (ENS) and the CaSR agonist R568 inhibited Cl− secretion in intestine. The purpose of this study was to localize the primary site of action of R568 in the ENS and to explore how CaSR regulates secretion through the ENS.Materials and methods:
Two preparations of rat proximal and distal colon were used. The full-thickness preparation contained both the submucosal and myenteric plexuses, whereas for the “stripped” preparation the myenteric plexus with the muscle layers was removed. Both preparations were mounted onto Ussing chambers and Cl− secretory responses were compared by measuring changes in short circuit current (Isc). Two tissue-specific CaSR knockouts (i.e., neuron-specific vs. enterocyte-specific) were generated to compare the effect of R568 on expression of c-fos protein in myenteric neurons by immunocytochemistry.Key findings:
In full-thickness colons, tetrodotoxin (TTX) inhibited Isc, both in proximal and distal colons. A nearly identical inhibition was produced by R568. However, in stripped preparations, while the effect of TTX on Isc largely remained, the effect of R568 was nearly completely eliminated. In keeping with this, R568 reduced c-fos protein expression only in myenteric neurons of wild type mice and mutant mice that contained CaSR in neurons (i.e., villinCre/Casrflox/flox mice), but not in myenteric neurons of nestinCre/Casrflox/flox mice in which neuronal cell CaSR was eliminated.Significance:
These results indicate that R568 exerts its anti-secretory effects predominantly via CaSR-mediated inhibition of neuronal activity in the myenteric plexus.