Effects of increasing osmolality on rat ileal smooth muscle
The effects of changing bathing medium osmolality on tension generation in smooth muscle were studied on potassium-depolarized segments of rat ileum. Increasing the tonicity of the medium evokes a transient relaxation of the smooth muscle; restoration of isotonicity evokes a transient contraction of similar amplitude and time course. While immersed in hypertonic media of less than 1.3 times normal tonicity, the smooth muscle slowly increases its isometric tension; in media of nearly twice normal tonicity, the smooth muscle loses tension. All of these effects occur whether the medium is made hypertonic with added NaCl or sucrose.