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ABSTRACT: We have proposed that activation of cerebral perivascular sympathetic alpha7-nicotinic acetylcholine receptors (alpha7-nAChRs) by nicotinic agonists releases norepinephrine, which then acts on parasympathetic nitrergic nerves, resulting in release of nitric oxide and vasodilation. Using patch-clamp electrophysiology, immunohistochemistry, and in vitro tissue bath myography, we tested this axo-axonal interaction hypothesis further by examining whether blocking norepinephrine reuptake enhanced alpha7-nAChR-mediated cerebral nitrergic neurogenic vasodilation. The results indicated that choline- and nicotine-induced alpha7-nAChR-mediated nitrergic neurogenic relaxation in endothelium-denuded isolated porcine basilar artery rings was enhanced by desipramine and imipramine at lower concentrations (0.03-0.1 microM) but inhibited at higher concentrations (0.3-10 microM). In cultured superior cervical ganglion (SCG) neurons of the pig and rat, choline (0.1-30 mM)-evoked inward currents were reversibly blocked by 1-30 microM mecamylamine, 1-30 microM methyllycaconitine, 10-300 nM alpha-bungarotoxin, and 0.1-10 microM desipramine and imipramine, providing electrophysiological evidence for the presence of similar functional alpha7-nAChRs in cerebral perivascular sympathetic neurons of pigs and rats. In alpha7-nAChR-expressing Xenopus oocytes, choline-elicited inward currents were attenuated by alpha-bungarotoxin, imipramine, and desipramine. These monoamine uptake inhibitors appeared to directly block the alpha7-nAChR, resulting in diminished nicotinic agonist-induced cerebral nitrergic vasodilation. The enhanced nitrergic vasodilation by lower concentrations of monoamine uptake inhibitors is likely due to a greater effect on monoamine uptake than on alpha7-nAChR blockade. These results further support the hypothesis of axo-axonal interaction in nitrergic regulation of cerebral vascular tone.
AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 08/2006; 291(1):H202-9. · 3.63 Impact Factor