Inhibitory and excitatory muscarinic receptors modulating the release of acetylcholine from the postganglionic parasympathetic neuron of the chicken heart

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1992 Oct;346(4):375-82. doi: 10.1007/BF00171077.


The effects of muscarinic receptor antagonists on ACh release were studied in the absence or presence of cholinesterase (ChE) inhibition using the isolated perfused chicken heart. Presynaptic inhibitory muscarinic autoreceptor were characterized by determining the potency of various antagonists to enhance [3H]-ACh release evoked by field stimulation (3 Hz, 1 min). The order of potencies was: (+/-)-telenzepine > atropine > 4-DAMP > silahexocyclium > pirenzepine > hexahydro-siladifenid-ol > AF-DX 116. The comparison with known pA2 values for M1-, M2- and M3-receptors revealed that the presynaptic autoreceptor meets the criteria of an M1-receptor. Basal, not electrically evoked overflow of unlabelled ACh into the perfusate was caused by 'leakage' release (non-exocytotic), as it was independent of extracellular Ca2+. Muscarinic receptor antagonists failed to enhance basel overflow. In contrast, when ChE activity was inhibited by 10(-6) M tacrine or pretreatment with 10(-4) M DFP, the ACh overflow was partially Ca(2+)-dependent and was reduced by tetrodotoxine. Moreover, block of the inhibitory muscarinic autoreceptors by (+/-)-telenzepine or pirenzepine caused a several-fold enhancement of the ACh release. The potencies of these antagonists were identical to those found for the electrically evoked [3H]-ACh release. The rate of ACh release enhanced by ChE inhibition plus telenzepine corresponds to about 12% of the total ACh pool per min, which is about the maximum amount of ACh that is available for any kind of stimuli. The release was dependent on the presence of exogenous choline. Hence elevation of ACh release led to a correspondingly enhanced ACh synthesis.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Chickens
  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology*
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Heart / drug effects*
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Muscarinic Antagonists*
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Myocardium / metabolism*


  • Cholinesterase Inhibitors
  • Muscarinic Antagonists
  • Acetylcholine