Protein kinase C isoforms in the enteric nervous system

Daniel P. Poole, Billie Hunne, Heather L. Robbins, John B. Furness

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15 Citations (Scopus)


C kinases (PKCs) are a family of enzymes essential for the transduction of signals in a diverse range of cell types, including neurons. The different isoforms vary in their activation requirements. Therefore, cell-specific expression of different isoforms has implications for PKC-mediated control of organ function. This study has investigated the types and distributions of PKC isoforms in the small intestine of the guinea-pig, with particular emphasis on their localisation in myenteric neurons, using immunohistochemistry and western blotting techniques. Three PKC isoforms, γ, η and θ, were detected in the calbindin-irmnunoreactive subset of intrinsic primary afferent neurons, but not in other myenteric neurons. Both γ and θ immunoreactivities were also located in interstitial cells of Cajal. In contrast to these isoforms, irmnunoreactivity for PKCs λ and ε was present in all myenteric neurons of the ileum. PKCα immunoreactivity was detected primarily in the glial network, as shown through double labelling with antibodies to the glial filament protein, S100b. Myenteric neurons were also weakly immunoreactive for this isoform. PKCδ immunoreactivity was very highly expressed in smooth muscle, but was largely absent from neurons. Immunoreactivity for RACK1, a binding protein for PKCβ, was detected in both calbindin-immunoreactive neurons and in smooth muscle cells. This study indicates a selective distribution of PKC isoforms to specific cell types. Isoform-specific activity of these enzymes could provide a means through which targeted modulation of intestinal function is achieved.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)51-61
Number of pages11
JournalHistochemistry and Cell Biology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2003


  • Calbindin
  • Enteric nervous system
  • Interstitial cells of Cajal
  • Protein kinase C
  • Sensory neuron

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