Do cholinergic nerves innervating rat mesenteric arteries regulate vascular tone?Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2012 Dec; 303(11):R1147-56.AJ
Vascular blood vessels have various types of cholinergic acetylcholine receptors (AChR), but the source of ACh has not been confirmed. Perivascular adrenergic nerves and nonadrenergic calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-containing (CGRPergic) nerves innervate rat mesenteric arteries and regulate vascular tone. However, function of cholinergic innervation remains unknown. The present study investigated cholinergic innervation by examining effects of cholinesterase inhibitor (neostigmine), a muscarinic AChR antagonist (atropine), and a nicotinic AChR antagonist (hexamethonium) on adrenergic nerve-mediated vasoconstriction and CGRPergic nerve-mediated vasodilation in rat mesenteric vascular beds without endothelium. In preparations treated with capsaicin (CGRP depletor) or in the presence of N(ω)-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (nonselective nitric oxide synthase inhibitor), perivascular nerve stimulation (PNS; 2-12 Hz) evoked a frequency-dependent vasoconstriction. In the same preparations, exogenous norepinephrine induced a concentration-dependent vasoconstriction. Atropine, hexamethonium, and neostigmine had no effect on vasoconstrictor responses to PNS and norepinephrine injections. In denuded preparations, these cholinergic agents did not affect the PNS (12 Hz)-evoked release of norepinephrine in perfusate. In preconstricted preparations without endothelium in the presence of guanethidine (adrenergic neuron blocker), PNS (1-4 Hz) induced a frequency-dependent vasodilation, which was not affected by atropine, hexamethonium, and neostigmine. In denuded preparations treated with capsaicin and guanethidine, PNS did not induce vascular responses, and atropine, neostigmine, and physostigmine had no effect on PNS. Immunohistochemistry study showed choline acetyltransferase-immunopositive fibers, which were resistant to capsaicin and 6-hydroxydopamine (adrenergic toxin). These results suggest that rat mesenteric arteries have cholinergic innervation, which is different from adrenergic and capsaicin-sensitive nerves and not associated with vascular tone regulation.