In vivo and extracellular in vitro studies of colon muscle have led to a great deal of disagreement on the characteristics of slow wave activity. As intracellular recordings of electrical activity in single cells give clear records which are easier to analyse, we used this method to study the slow wave activity of the circular muscle of three different parts of the canine colon. Mucosa was removed from segments of proximal, mid and distal canine colon and specimens from each segment were mounted in an organ bath perfused with oxygenated Krebs' solution. Membrane potential, amplitude and frequency of slow waves were measured using intracellular electrodes. Slow wave activity was present at a single, continuous frequency of 4-6 cpm in the circular muscle at all the sites studied in canine colon. There was no significant frequency gradient along the colon: the membrane potential and amplitude of slow waves did not differ significantly in the three parts of the colon.
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