Long-term regulation of synaptic acetylcholine release and nicotinic transmission: the role of cyclic AMP

Br J Pharmacol. 1988 Feb;93(2):399-411. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1988.tb11447.x.


1. Using the rat superior cervical ganglion in vitro, the relative efficacy of nicotinic synaptic transmission was estimated by recording the postganglionic compound action potential and the amount of endogenous acetylcholine (ACh) released. These two parameters were correlated in individual ganglia by sampling the bathing medium for the assay of ACh while simultaneously recording the postganglionic response. 2. The beta-adrenoceptor agonist isoprenaline potentiated both the evoked release of ACh and the postganglionic response by about 20% during preganglionic stimulation at 0.2 Hz. 3. The adenosine receptor agonist 2-chloroadenosine inhibited ACh release and the postganglionic response by about 35%. 4. Tetanic preganglionic stimulation for a few seconds induced a long-term potentiation of nicotinic responses and of ACh release. Both of these potentiations were dependent upon extracellular Ca2+ during the tetani. 5. Forskolin and analogues of cyclic AMP also caused a long-lasting potentiation of both the evoked release of ACh and the postganglionic response, indicating that cyclic AMP may regulate transmission by a presynaptic mechanism. The specificity of the cyclic AMP analogues was tested using various butyryl- and bromo-purine nucleotides. 6. The effects of forskolin and 8-bromo-cyclic AMP did not appear to be dependent upon extracellular Ca2+. 7. The potentiation caused by forskolin was consistently augmented by three phosphodiesterase inhibitors--AH 21-132, papaverine and SQ 20-006. However, the effect of forskolin was not consistently enhanced by theophylline, nor was it reduced by the adenylate cyclase inhibitor SQ 22-536. 8. The neurogenic long-term potentiation was augmented by two of the phosphodiesterase inhibitors that also augmented the forskolin-induced potentiation--papaverine and SQ 20-006. 9. It was concluded that cyclic AMP can enhance nicotinic transmission, and can do so by increasing the evoked release of ACh. However, it was not possible to prove that cyclic AMP mediates the long-term potentiation induced by tetanic preganglionic stimulation.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / metabolism*
  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Animals
  • Bucladesine / pharmacology
  • Calcium / physiology
  • Choline / metabolism
  • Colforsin / pharmacology
  • Cyclic AMP / physiology*
  • Female
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Male
  • Nucleotides / pharmacology
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Nicotinic / physiology*
  • Synapses / metabolism*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects*
  • Time Factors


  • Adenylyl Cyclase Inhibitors
  • Nucleotides
  • Phosphodiesterase Inhibitors
  • Receptors, Nicotinic
  • Colforsin
  • Bucladesine
  • Cyclic AMP
  • Choline
  • Acetylcholine
  • Calcium