Purinergic stimulation of carotid body efferent glossopharyngeal neurones increases intracellular Ca2+and nitric oxide production
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The mammalian carotid body (CB) is a peripheral chemosensory organ that controls ventilation and is innervated by both afferent and efferent nerve fibres. The afferent pathway is stimulated by chemoexcitants, such as hypoxia, hypercapnia and acidosis. The efferent pathway causes inhibition of the sensory discharge via release of NO that originates mainly from neuronal nitric oxide synthase (nNOS)-positive autonomic neurones within the glossopharyngeal nerve (GPN). Recent studies in the rat indicate that these inhibitory GPN neurones and their processes express purinergic P2X receptors and can be activated by ATP, a key excitatory CB neurotransmitter. Here we tested the hypothesis that purinergic agonists stimulate a rise in [Ca(2+)]i, leading to nNOS activation and NO production in isolated GPN neurones, using the fluorescent probes fura-2 and 4-amino-5-methylamino-2',7'-difluorofluorescein diacetate (DAF-FM DA), respectively. ATP caused a dose-dependent increase in [Ca(2+)]i in GPN neurones (EC50 ≈ 1.92 μm) that was markedly inhibited by a combination of 100 μm suramin (a non-specific P2X blocker) and 100 nm Brilliant Blue G (a selective P2X7 blocker). ATP also stimulated NO production in GPN neurones, as revealed by an increase in DAF fluorescence; this NO signal was inhibited by purinergic blockers, chelators of extracellular Ca(2+), the nNOS inhibitor l-NAME and the NO scavenger carboxy-PTIO. The P2X2/3 and P2X7 agonists α,β,-methylene ATP and benzoyl ATP mimicked the effects of ATP. Taken together, these data indicate that ATP may contribute to negative feedback inhibition of CB sensory discharge via purinergic stimulation of NO production in efferent fibres.
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