Saudi Journal of Gastroenterology
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Year : 2013  |  Volume : 19  |  Issue : 1  |  Page : 3-15

The importance of interstitial cells of cajal in the gastrointestinal tract


Department of Physiology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, Irbid, Jordan

Correspondence Address:
Othman A Al-Shboul
Department of Physiology, Jordan University of Science and Technology, P.O. Box 3030, Irbid - 22110
Jordan
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Source of Support: None, Conflict of Interest: None


DOI: 10.4103/1319-3767.105909

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Gastrointestinal (GI) motility function and its regulation is a complex process involving collaboration and communication of multiple cell types such as enteric neurons, interstitial cells of Cajal (ICC), and smooth muscle cells. Recent advances in GI research made a better understanding of ICC function and their role in the GI tract, and studies based on different types of techniques have shown that ICC, as an integral part of the GI neuromuscular apparatus, transduce inputs from enteric motor neurons, generate intrinsic electrical rhythmicity in phasic smooth muscles, and have a mechanical sensation ability. Absence or improper function of these cells has been linked to some GI tract disorders. This paper provides a general overview of ICC; their discovery, subtypes, function, locations in the GI tract, and some disorders associated with their loss or disease, and highlights some controversial issues with regard to the importance of ICC in the GI tract.


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