• calcium sensitization;
  • colon;
  • inflammation;
  • myosin phosphatase;
  • MYPT1;
  • smooth muscle


Background  Colonic smooth muscle contractility is altered in colitis, and several protein kinase pathways can mediate colonic smooth muscle contraction. In the present study, we investigated whether protein kinase C (PKC) pathways also play a role in colonic hypercontractility observed during TH2 colitis in BALB/c mice.

Methods  Colitis was induced in BALB/c mice by provision of 5% dextran sodium sulfate (DSS) for 7 days. Changes in smooth muscle contractility were examined using dissected circular smooth muscle preparations from the distal colon. The contribution of conventional and novel PKC isozymes to the hypercontractile response was examined with pharmacological PKC inhibitors. Western blot analyses were used to examine protein expression and phosphorylation changes.

Key Results  Colonic smooth muscle was associated with inflammation-induced hypercontractility and altered PKC expression. Carbachol-induced peak (phasic) and sustained (tonic) contractions were increased. Chelerythrine was the most effective PKC inhibitor of both phasic and tonic contractions. There was no general difference in the percent contribution of conventional and novel PKC isozymes toward the DSS-induced hypercontractility, but inhibition of sustained force with GF109203x was higher for inflamed muscle. The CPI-17 phosphorylation was equally suppressed in both normal and DSS conditions by Gö6976 and chelerythrine, but only for the phasic component of contraction.

Conclusions & Inferences  The outcomes suggest that both conventional and novel PKC isozymes contribute to the phasic and tonic contractile components of BALB/c colonic circular smooth muscle under normal conditions, with novel PKC isozymes having a greater contribution to the tonic contraction. However, no effect of inflammation was observed on the relative contribution of PKC and CPI-17 toward the observed hypercontractility.