Contraction of gut smooth muscle cells assessed by fluorescence imaging

Yohei Tokita, Hirotada Akiho, Kazuhiko Nakamura, Eikichi Ihara, Masahiro Yamamoto

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


Here we discuss the development of a novel cell imaging system for the evaluation of smooth muscle cell (SMC) contraction. SMCs were isolated from the circular and longitudinal muscular layers of mouse small intestine by enzymatic digestion. SMCs were stimulated by test agents, thereafter fixed in acrolein. Actin in fixed SMCs was stained with phalloidin and cell length was determined by measuring diameter at the large end of phalloidin-stained strings within the cells. The contractile response was taken as the decrease in the average length of a population of stimulated-SMCs. Various mediators and chemically identified compounds of daikenchuto (DKT), pharmaceutical-grade traditional Japanese prokinetics, were examined. Verification of the integrity of SMC morphology by phalloidin and DAPI staining and semi-automatic measurement of cell length using an imaging analyzer was a reliable method by which to quantify the contractile response. Serotonin, substance P, prostaglandin E2 and histamine induced SMC contraction in concentration-dependent manner. Two components of DKT, hydroxy-α-sanshool and hydroxy-β-sanshool, induced contraction of SMCs. We established a novel cell imaging technique to evaluate SMC contractility. This method may facilitate investigation into SMC activity and its role in gastrointestinal motility, and may assist in the discovery of new prokinetic agents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)344-351
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacological Sciences
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2015

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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