Neurogastroenterology and motility vol:20 issue:11 pages:1185-1188
Cells interact with each other by releasing signalling molecules, which can activate or inactivate target cells. In order to understand how coordination results from this communication, accurate measurements of these signalling molecules are prerequisite. Several different techniques exist to monitor and quantify these compounds, including enzymatic and histochemical assays, electrophysiological and optical recordings. However, there has been little use of electrochemical recordings in gastroenterological research, although these are very fast and sensitive. Electrochemical techniques rely on the simple fact that electroactive molecules can be oxidized at a given potential. The currents, elicited by the oxidation, are directly proportional to the concentration of the compound. In the current issue of Neurogastroenterology and Motility, electrochemical detection was successfully applied to measure nitric oxide (NO) from intestinal preparations. Although there are some important specificity, timing and spatial aspects to consider, this direct NO-probing technique is definitely a great asset to the field of gastrointestinal research and advances our understanding of NO signalling in the intestinal wall.