Anatomy and Neuroscience - Research Publications

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    Prominent contribution of L-type Ca2+ channels to cutaneous neurovascular transmission that is revealed after spinal cord injury augments vasoconstriction
    Al Dera, H ; Habgood, MD ; Furness, JB ; Brock, JA (AMER PHYSIOLOGICAL SOC, 2012-02-01)
    In patients with spinal cord injury (SCI), somatosympathetic reflexes produce exaggerated decreases in skin blood flow below the lesion. This hypoperfusion appears to result from an increased responsiveness of cutaneous arterial vessels to neural activation. Here we investigated the mechanisms that underlie SCI-induced enhancement of neurovascular transmission in a cutaneous vessel, the rat tail artery. Isometric contractions of arterial segments from T11 spinal cord transected and sham-operated rats were compared 6 wk postoperatively. SCI more than doubled the amplitudes of contractions of arteries in response to moderate frequencies of nerve stimulation (0.1 to 1 Hz). In arteries from SCI rats, but not those from sham-operated rats, the L-type Ca(2+) channel blocker nifedipine (1 μM) reduced the amplitudes of nerve-evoked contractions. Furthermore, while the sensitivity to the agonists phenylephrine (α(1)-adrenoceptor selective) and clonidine (α(2)-adrenoceptor selective) did not differ significantly between arteries from SCI and sham-operated rats, nifedipine had a greater inhibitory effect on contractions to both agents in arteries from SCI rats. Although sensitivity to clonidine was unchanged, SCI selectively reduced the contribution of postjunctional α(2)-adenceptors to nerve-evoked contractions. In arteries from unoperated rats, the L-type channel agonist BAY K 8644 (0.1 μM) produced a similar enhancement of nerve-evoked contraction to that produced by SCI and also selectively reduced the contribution of α(2)-adrenceptors to these responses. Together the findings demonstrate that the SCI-induced enhancement of neurovascular transmission in the rat tail artery can largely be accounted for by an increased contribution of L-type Ca(2+) channels to activation of the vascular smooth muscle.
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    Sites of action of ghrelin receptor ligands in cardiovascular control
    Callaghan, B ; Hunne, B ; Hirayama, H ; Sartor, DM ; Nguyen, TV ; Abogadie, FC ; Ferens, D ; McIntyre, P ; Ban, K ; Baell, J ; Furness, JB ; Brock, JA (AMER PHYSIOLOGICAL SOC, 2012-10-01)
    Circulating ghrelin reduces blood pressure, but the mechanism for this action is unknown. This study investigated whether ghrelin has direct vasodilator effects mediated through the growth hormone secretagogue receptor 1a (GHSR1a) and whether ghrelin reduces sympathetic nerve activity. Mice expressing enhanced green fluorescent protein under control of the promoter for growth hormone secretagogue receptor (GHSR) and RT-PCR were used to locate sites of receptor expression. Effects of ghrelin and the nonpeptide GHSR1a agonist capromorelin on rat arteries and on transmission in sympathetic ganglia were measured in vitro. In addition, rat blood pressure and sympathetic nerve activity responses to ghrelin were determined in vivo. In reporter mice, expression of GHSR was revealed at sites where it has been previously demonstrated (hypothalamic neurons, renal tubules, sympathetic preganglionic neurons) but not in any artery studied, including mesenteric, cerebral, and coronary arteries. In rat, RT-PCR detected GHSR1a mRNA expression in spinal cord and kidney but not in the aorta or in mesenteric arteries. Moreover, the aorta and mesenteric arteries from rats were not dilated by ghrelin or capromorelin at concentrations >100 times their EC(50) determined in cells transfected with human or rat GHSR1a. These agonists did not affect transmission from preganglionic sympathetic neurons that express GHSR1a. Intravenous application of ghrelin lowered blood pressure and decreased splanchnic nerve activity. It is concluded that the blood pressure reduction to ghrelin occurs concomitantly with a decrease in sympathetic nerve activity and is not caused by direct actions on blood vessels or by inhibition of transmission in sympathetic ganglia.