Mechanism of action of neurotensin at the ileocecal sphincter region

Robin D. Rothstein, Ann Ouyang

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Neurotensin, a neuropeptide identified in the distal small intestine, plays an unclear role in ileocecal sphincter regional function. The purpose of this study was to determine the effect and mechanism of action of neurotensin on the feline ileocecal sphincter (ICS), proximal colon, and distal ileum. Intraluminal pressures were recorded at these sites in anesthetized cats after superior mesentric artery injection of neurotensin. Dose dependent tonic and phasic contractions were seen at all sites. Peak pressure responses were seen at the maximal dose used and were greater for the ICS than the distal ileum and the proximal colon. The threshold dose for peak pressures for neurotensin was 0.05 μg/kg for all sites with the maximal peak pressures occurring at the maximal dose used (100 μg/kg). The motility index (MI [number of contractions × mean amplitude of contractions]) was determined for three minutes before and after neurotensin injection. The change in the motility index after neurotensin increased at doses above 0.05 μg/kg for the ileum and the ICS and 0.25 μg/kg for the colon. Maximal responses for the motility index were seen at 1 μg/kg for the distal ileum, and 10 μg/kg for the ICS and the proximal colon, with the greatest response seen at the ICS. Neurotensin-induced ICS relaxation was seen at 1 μg/kg (50 ± 10%, p < 0.01) in 33% of cats. The contractile responses of the distal ileum and the proximal colon were not inhibited by naloxone, trimethaphan, tetrodotoxin, or atropine. The ICS contractile response was decreased by tetrodotoxin by 53%, p < 0.05. The alpha2 antagonist, yohimbine reduced the neurotensin induced ICS contraction from 31.6 ± 3.4 to 21.9 ± 3.3 mm Hg, p < 0.05. Prazosin had no effect on neurotensin-induced contractions. In the presence of cimetidine and diphenhydramine, trimethaphan did not affect the neurotensin-induced contractile response at all three sites. However, neurotensin inhibited contractions induced by trimethaphan alone at all three sites. Conclusions: 1. Neurotensin causes a dose-dependent contractile response at the distal ileum, ICS, and proximal colon. 2. Neurotensin has an inhibitory effect at all three sites. 3. The contractile response at the distal ileum and the proximal colon is mediated via smooth muscle receptors. 4. The contractile response of neurotensin at the ICS is mediated partly via alpha2 receptors and partly via smooth muscle receptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1475-1482
Number of pages8
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number16
StatePublished - Jan 1 1989

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)


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