Constitutive basal and stimulated human small bowel contractility is enhanced in obesity
Little is known about the extracellular factors that determine a cell's responsiveness to neurotransmitters. This is a particularly important issue for pharmacologically diverse cell types such as neurons and smooth muscle. This report demonstrates that the contractile responses of amniotic smooth muscle to a specific neuropeptide, substance P, is controlled by a molecule(s) intimately associated with the extracellular basement membrane. This molecule(s) normally represses the expression of substance P responsiveness in this tissue. When the amniotic smooth muscle is separated from the basement membrane by dissociation, normally unresponsive cells exhibit a progressive increase in responsiveness to substance P, beginning within the first 24 hr in culture. The induction of substance P responses was completely inhibited when the cells were plated onto isolated amniotic basement membrane rather than onto polyornithine or collagen I. Similar changes in the responsiveness to another agonist, histamine, did not occur. The data demonstrate that extracellular matrix exerts a major instructive influence in determining the responsiveness of avian amniotic smooth muscle to specific ligands. We suggest that similar regulatory mechanisms may operate in other tissues.