Previous studies have demonstrated that nicotine releases protons from adrenergic nerves via stimulation of nicotinic ACh receptors and activates transient receptor potential vanilloid-1 (TRPV1) receptors located on calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-containing (CGRPergic) vasodilator nerves, resulting in vasodilatation. The present study investigated whether perivascular nerves release protons, which modulate axon-axonal neurotransmission.
Perfusion pressure and pH levels of perfusate in rat-perfused mesenteric vascular beds without endothelium were measured with a pressure transducer and a pH meter respectively.
Periarterial nerve stimulation (PNS) initially induced vasoconstriction, which was followed by long-lasting vasodilatation and decreased pH levels in the perfusate. Cold-storage denervation of the preparation abolished the decreased pH and vascular responses to PNS. The adrenergic neuron blocker guanethidine inhibited PNS-induced vasoconstriction and effects on pH, but not PNS-induced vasodilatation. Capsaicin (CGRP depletor), capsazepine and ruthenium red (TRPV1 inhibitors) attenuated the PNS-induced decrease in pH and vasodilatation. In denuded preparations, ACh caused long-lasting vasodilatation and lowered pH; these effects were inhibited by capsaicin pretreatment and atropine, but not by guanethidine or mecamylamine. Capsaicin injection induced vasodilatation and a reduction in pH, which were abolished by ruthenium red. The use of a fluorescent pH indicator demonstrated that application of nicotine, ACh and capsaicin outside small mesenteric arteries reduced perivascular pH levels and these effects were abolished in a Ca(2+) -free medium.
These results suggest that protons are released from perivascular adrenergic and CGRPergic nerves upon PNS and these protons modulate transmission in CGRPergic nerves.