Role of galanin receptor 1 in peristaltic activity in the guinea pig ileum

C. Sternini, L. Anselmi, S. Guerrini, E. Cervio, T. Pham, B. Balestra, R. Vicini, P. Baiardi, G. L. D'Agostino, M. Tonini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Galanin effects are mediated by distinct receptors, galanin receptor 1 (GAL-R1), GAL-R2 and GAL-R3. Here, we analyzed 1) the role of GAL-R1 in cholinergic transmission and peristalsis in the guinea-pig ileum using longitudinal muscle-myenteric plexus preparations and intact segments of the ileum in organ bath, and 2) the distribution of GAL-R1 immunoreactivity in the myenteric plexus with immunohistochemistry and confocal microscopy. Galanin inhibited electrically stimulated contractions of longitudinal muscle-myenteric plexus preparations with a biphasic curve. Desensitization with 1 μM galanin suppressed the high potency phase of the curve, whereas the GAL-R1 antagonist, RWJ-57408 (1 μM), inhibited the low potency phase. Galanin (3 μM) reduced the longitudinal muscle contraction and the peak pressure, and decreased the compliance of the circular muscle. All these effects were antagonized by RWJ-57408 (1 or 10 μM). RWJ-57408 (10 μM) per se did not affect peristalsis parameters in normal conditions, nor when peristalsis efficiency was reduced by partial nicotinic transmission blockade with hexamethonium. In the myenteric plexus, GAL-R1 immunoreactivity was localized to neurons and to fibers projecting within the plexus and to the muscle. GAL-R1 was expressed mostly by cholinergic neurons and by some neurons containing vasoactive intestinal polypeptide or nitric oxide synthase. This study indicates that galanin inhibits cholinergic transmission to the longitudinal muscle via two separate receptors; GAL-R1 mediates the low potency phase. The reduced peristalsis efficiency could be explained by inhibition of the cholinergic drive, whereas the decreased compliance is probably due to inhibition of descending neurons and/or to the activation of an excitatory muscular receptor. Endogenous galanin does not appear to affect neuronal pathways subserving peristalsis in physiologic conditions via GAL-R1.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)103-112
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 2004


  • Acetylcholine transferase
  • Ascending myenteric neurons
  • cAMP
  • ChAT
  • Cholinergic transmission
  • Cyclic adenosine monophosphate
  • Descending myenteric neurons
  • Longitudinal muscle-myenteric plexus preparations
  • Nonadrenergic inhibitory pathways
  • Noncholinergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)


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