Decreasing extracellular sodium concentration was found to produce a contractile response of rabbit ileal smooth muscle. As the concentration decreases, the amplitude of contraction increases, thus producing a dose-dependent curve. Harmaline, a competitor for sodium, was found to inhibit the sodium gradient-dependent contractions in a dose-dependent manner. The results are interpreted as harmaline inhibiting a Na–Ca exchange mechanism present in ileal smooth muscle.

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