Neuronal muscarinic receptors attenuate vagally-induced contraction of feline bronchial smooth muscle

Br J Pharmacol. 1985 Nov;86(3):723-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1985.tb08951.x.


In anaesthetized cats, stimulation of the vagus nerves produced bradycardia and a bronchoconstriction which was measured as an increase in lung resistance (RL) and a fall in dynamic lung compliance (Cdyn); these effects were abolished by atropine. Gallamine potentiated vagally-mediated changes in RL and Cdyn at doses that blocked muscarinic receptors in the heart and inhibited neuromuscular transmission. (+)-Tubocurarine and suxamethonium did not affect the response of the lung or the heart to vagal stimulation. Bronchoconstriction induced by intravenous acetylcholine was not potentiated by gallamine, indicating that postsynaptic muscarinic receptors in the lung and changes in muscle tone were not involved. Potentiation of vagally-induced bronchoconstriction appears to be due to blockade of inhibitory muscarinic receptors located in the pulmonary parasympathetic nerves innervating both central and peripheral airways. Pilocarpine was an agonist for these neuronal receptors as it inhibited vagally-induced bronchoconstriction at low doses (10 ng to 1 microgram kg-1). The results demonstrate that gallamine is an antagonist and pilocarpine an agonist at neuronal muscarinic receptors which attenuate parasympathetic nerve activity in feline lung.

MeSH terms

  • Acetylcholine / pharmacology
  • Airway Resistance / drug effects
  • Animals
  • Atropine / pharmacology
  • Blood Pressure / drug effects
  • Bronchi / innervation*
  • Bronchi / physiology
  • Cats / physiology*
  • Gallamine Triethiodide / pharmacology
  • Heart Rate / drug effects
  • Lung Compliance / drug effects
  • Muscle Contraction / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / drug effects
  • Muscle, Smooth / physiology*
  • Neuromuscular Junction / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / drug effects
  • Receptors, Muscarinic / physiology*
  • Synaptic Transmission / drug effects
  • Vagus Nerve / physiology*


  • Receptors, Muscarinic
  • Atropine
  • Acetylcholine
  • Gallamine Triethiodide