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Acetylcholine inhibits nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in the gastropod nervous system

, : Acetylcholine inhibits nitric oxide (NO) synthesis in the gastropod nervous system. Cell and Tissue Research 336(2): 325-335

Acetylcholine (ACh) is one of the main signals regulating nitric oxide synthase (NOS) expression and nitric oxide (NO) biosynthesis in mammals. However, few comparative studies have been performed on the role of ACh on NOS activity in non-mammalian animals. We have therefore studied the cholinergic control of NOS in the snail Helix pomatia and compared the effects of ACh on NO synthesis in the enteric nervous system of the snail and rat. Analyses by the NADPH-diaphorase reaction, immunocytochemistry, purification with ion-exchange chromatography, Western-blot, and quantitative polymerase chain reaction have revealed the expression of neuronal NOS in the rat intestine and of a 60-kDa subunit of NOS in the enteric nerve plexus of H. pomatia. In H. pomatia, quantification of the NO-derived nitrite ions has established that NO formation is confined to the NOS-containing midintestine. Nitrite production can be elevated by L-arginine but inhibited by N(omega)-nitro-L-arginine. In rats, ACh moderately elevates nitrite production, whereas ACh, the nicotinic receptor agonists (nicotine, acetyl thiocholine iodide, metacholine) and the cholinesterase inhibitor eserine reduce enteric nitrite formation in snails. The nicotinic receptor antagonist tubocurarine also provokes nitrite liberation, whereas the muscarinic receptor agonists or antagonists have no significant effect in snails. In the presence of EDTA or tetrodotoxin, ACh fails to inhibit nitrite production. In pharmacological studies, we have found that ACh contracts the midintestinal muscles and, in snails, simultaneously reduces the antagonistic muscle relaxant effect of L-arginine. Our experiments provide the first evidence for an inhibitory regulation of neuronal NO synthesis by ACh in an invertebrate species.


PMID: 19255787

DOI: 10.1007/s00441-009-0764-3

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