The pacemaker functions of visceral interstitial cells of Cajal

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HUANG Xu(Department of Physiology,Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine,Shanghai 200240,China)
XU Wen-Xie(Department of Physiology,Shanghai Jiaotong University School of Medicine,Shanghai 200240,China)
Journal Title:
Volume 62, Issue 05, 2010
Key Word:
interstitial cells of Cajal;pacemaker cells;neurotransmission

Abstract: Interstitial cells of Cajal(ICCs)are located in most parts of the digestive system.Although they have been found over 100years,their functions began to be unravelled only recently.ICCs are considered as pacemaker cells which elicit spontaneous rhythmic electric activity termed"basic electrical rhythm"or"slow waves"in gastrointestinal tract.Moreover,they also mediate neurotransmission from neurons to smooth muscle in gastrointestinal tract.ICC-like cells also exist in other visceral smooth muscles,such as urinary tract,genital system and vascular smooth muscle.In this paper we review the progress of research about the functions of visceral ICCs.

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