Targeting ion channels for the treatment of gastrointestinal motility disorders

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Abstract

Gastrointestinal (GI) functional and motility disorders are highly prevalent and responsible for long-term morbidity and sometimes mortality in the affected patients. It is estimated that one in three persons has a GI functional or motility disorder. However, diagnosis and treatment of these widespread conditions remains challenging. This partly stems from the multisystem pathophysiology, including processing abnormalities in the central and peripheral (enteric) nervous systems and motor dysfunction in the GI wall. Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) are central to the generation and propagation of the cyclical electrical activity and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are responsible for electromechanical coupling. In these and other excitable cells voltage-sensitive ion channels (VSICs) are the main molecular units that generate and regulate electrical activity. Thus, VSICs are potential targets for intervention in GI motility disorders. Research in this area has flourished with advances in the experimental methods in molecular and structural biology and electrophysiology. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the complex and variable electrical behavior of ICCs and SMCs remains incomplete. In this review, we focus on the slow waves and action potentials in ICCs and SMCs. We describe the constituent VSICs, which include voltage-gated sodium (NaV), calcium (CaV), potassium (KV, KCa), chloride (Cl-) and nonselective ion channels (transient receptor potentials [TRPs]). VSICs have significant structural homology and common functional mechanisms. We outline the approaches and limitations and provide examples of targeting VSICs at the pores, voltage sensors and alternatively spliced sites. Rational drug design can come from an integrated view of the structure and mechanisms of gating and activation by voltage or mechanical stress.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-21
Number of pages17
JournalTherapeutic Advances in Gastroenterology
Volume5
Issue number1
DOIs
StatePublished - Jan 2012

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Gastrointestinal Motility
Ion Channels
Interstitial Cells of Cajal
Smooth Muscle Myocytes
Enteric Nervous System
Therapeutics
Mechanical Stress
Chloride Channels
Electrophysiology
Drug Design
Peripheral Nervous System
Action Potentials
Molecular Biology
Potassium
Sodium
Calcium
Morbidity
Mortality
Research

Keywords

  • calcium voltage gated ion channel
  • chloride channel
  • functional GI
  • GI motility
  • ion channel
  • potassium voltage gated ion channel
  • sodium voltage gated ion channel
  • voltage gated ion channel

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology

Cite this

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abstract = "Gastrointestinal (GI) functional and motility disorders are highly prevalent and responsible for long-term morbidity and sometimes mortality in the affected patients. It is estimated that one in three persons has a GI functional or motility disorder. However, diagnosis and treatment of these widespread conditions remains challenging. This partly stems from the multisystem pathophysiology, including processing abnormalities in the central and peripheral (enteric) nervous systems and motor dysfunction in the GI wall. Interstitial cells of Cajal (ICCs) are central to the generation and propagation of the cyclical electrical activity and smooth muscle cells (SMCs) are responsible for electromechanical coupling. In these and other excitable cells voltage-sensitive ion channels (VSICs) are the main molecular units that generate and regulate electrical activity. Thus, VSICs are potential targets for intervention in GI motility disorders. Research in this area has flourished with advances in the experimental methods in molecular and structural biology and electrophysiology. However, our understanding of the molecular mechanisms responsible for the complex and variable electrical behavior of ICCs and SMCs remains incomplete. In this review, we focus on the slow waves and action potentials in ICCs and SMCs. We describe the constituent VSICs, which include voltage-gated sodium (NaV), calcium (CaV), potassium (KV, KCa), chloride (Cl-) and nonselective ion channels (transient receptor potentials [TRPs]). VSICs have significant structural homology and common functional mechanisms. We outline the approaches and limitations and provide examples of targeting VSICs at the pores, voltage sensors and alternatively spliced sites. Rational drug design can come from an integrated view of the structure and mechanisms of gating and activation by voltage or mechanical stress.",
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