In a study published in the journal Nature Communications, scientists at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Boston identified a new molecular pathway critical for maintaining the smooth muscle tone that allows the passage of materials through the digestive system, which may lead to new treatments for a host of digestive disorders, as reported by Gen News.
Rhongua ZhuGe, PhD, associate professor of microbiology and physiological systems at University of Massachusetts Medical School and a senior author of the study, and colleagues examined the internal anal sphincter that controls bowel continence in mice.
Here are three points:
1. The researchers found genetic deletion of the calcium-independent MLC phosphatase enzyme in the smooth muscle had no effect on the basal tone of the mouse sphincter.
2. Deletion of calcium-dependent MLC kinase enzyme essentially abolishes the basal tone and mice become incontinent as a result.
3. Experiments showed these local calcium releases have no direct role in muscle tone.