Cholesterol inhibits spontaneous action potentials and calcium currents in guinea pig gallbladder smooth muscle

Lee J. Jennings, Qi Wei Xu, Tracy A. Firth, Mark T. Nelson, Gary M. Mawe

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


    Elevated cholesterol decreases agonist-induced contractility and enhances stone formation in the gallbladder. The current study was conducted to determine if and how the electrical properties and ionic conductances of gallbladder smooth muscle are altered by elevated cholesterol. Cholesterol was delivered as a complex with cyclodextrin, and effects were evaluated with intracellular recordings from intact gallbladder and whole cell patch-clamp recordings from isolated cells. Cholesterol significantly attenuated the spontaneous action potentials of intact tissue. Furthermore, calcium- dependent action potentials and calcium currents were reduced in the intact tissue and in isolated cells, respectively. However, neither membrane potential hyperpolarizations induced by the ATP-sensitive potassium channel opener, pinacidil, nor voltage-activated outward potassium currents were affected by cholesterol. Hyperpolarizations elicited by calcitonin generelated peptide were reduced by cholesterol enrichment, indicating potential changes in receptor ligand binding and/or second messenger interactions. These data indicate that excess cholesterol can contribute to gallbladder stasis by affecting calcium channel activity, whereas potassium channels remained unaffected. In addition, cholesterol enrichment may also modulate receptor ligand behavior and/or second messenger interactions.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)G1017-G1026
    JournalAJP: Gastrointestinal and Liver Physiology
    Issue number5
    Publication statusPublished - Nov 1999


    • Biliary stasis
    • Biliary tract motility
    • Cholelithiasis
    • Gallstone disease


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