Muscarinic receptor M3 mediates human gallbladder contraction through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and Rho kinase

Ming Che Lee, Ying Chin Yang, Yen Cheng Chen, Shih Che Huang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

8 Citations (Scopus)


Objective. Muscarinic receptors mediate contraction of the human gallbladder through unclear receptor subtypes. The aim of the present study was to characterize muscarinic acetylcholine receptors mediating contraction of the human gallbladder. Materials and methods. Contraction of human gallbladder muscle strips caused by agonists carbachol and muscarine was measured and the inhibition of carbachol-induced contraction by muscarinic receptor antagonists was evaluated. Reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction was performed to determine the existence of muscarinic receptor subtypes. Results. Carbachol and muscarine caused concentration-dependent contraction of gallbladder strips. Four receptor antagonists, including atropine, 4-diphenylacetoxy-N-methylpiperidine methiodide (4-DAMP), methoctramine, and pirenzepine, inhibited the carbachol-induced contraction. The relative inhibitory potency of these receptor antagonists was atropine > 4-DAMP > methoctramine > pirenzepine. The antagonist affinity estimates (pA2 values) correlated with the known affinities at M3, M4, and M5 muscarinic receptors. In addition, the M4-selective antagonist muscarinic toxin 3 did not inhibit and the M5-selective positive allosteric modulator VU0238429 did not potentiate carbachol-induced gallbladder contraction. This suggests that M3 muscarinic receptors mediate the muscarinic response predominantly. The contractile response of carbachol was attenuated by the voltage-gated Ca2+ channel inhibitor nifedipine and Rho-kinase inhibitor H-1152, but not affected by protein kinase C inhibitor chelerythrine. This implies the involvement of voltage-gated Ca2+ channel and Rho kinase but not protein kinase C. Conclusions. These results suggest a major role of M3 muscarinic receptors mediating the human gallbladder contraction through voltage-gated Ca2+ channels and Rho kinase. M3-selective muscarinic receptor antagonists could be of therapeutic importance in the treatment of biliary motility disorders.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)205-212
Number of pages8
JournalScandinavian Journal of Gastroenterology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Contraction
  • Gallbladder
  • Human
  • M3 receptors
  • Muscarinic acetylcholine receptor
  • Rho kinase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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