1. To study the mechanisms involved in the action of Z-338, a newly synthesized gastroprokinetic agent, experiments were performed with the paratracheal ganglion cells acutely dissociated from 2-week-old Wistar rats. The effects of Z-338 on both nicotinic and muscarinic responses of the ganglion cells were studied by nystatin perforated patch recording configuration under the current- and voltage-clamp conditions. 2. Acetylcholine (ACh) or nicotine, and muscarine or oxotremorine-M (OX-M) induced membrane depolarization with rapid and slow time courses respectively, followed by repetitive generation of action potentials in the ganglion cell. Corresponding to the membrane depolarization induced by cholinergic agents, ACh induced biphasic inward currents with rapid and slow time courses under the voltage-clamp condition. Nicotine and muscarine or OX-M evoked inward currents with rapid and slow time courses, respectively. The rapid and slow inward currents were accompanied by increase and decrease in the membrane conductance, respectively. In addition, OX-M dose-dependently suppressed the M-type K+ current evoked in response to hyperpolarizing voltage-steps from VH of -25 mV to -50 mV, indicating that the activation of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors inhibits M-type K+ current, thus inducing inward current in the ganglion cell. 3. Z-338 competitively suppressed the inward currents induced by OX-M through M1 ACh receptor, and uncompetitively suppressed the currents induced by nicotine. 4. The inhibitory actions of Z-338 on the membrane depolarization and corresponding inward currents mediated by M1-muscarinic and neuronal nicotinic ACh receptors in the isolated ganglion cells were discussed in relation to the inhibitory actions on autoreceptors in the parasympathetic nerve terminals, which would explain the gastroprokinetic actions of Z-338.
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