Influence of electrical field stimulation on antigen-induced contraction and mediator release in the guinea pig isolated superfused trachea and bronchus

B. J. Undem, G. K. Adams, C. K. Buckner

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11 Scopus citations


These studies examined the ability of electrical field stimulation (EFS) to influence antigen-induced responses in the guinea pig isolated trachea and main-stem bronchi. Airways isolated from guinea pigs actively sensitized to ovalbumin were superfused and stimulated transmurally with square pulses of 1 msec duration at a frequency of 16 pulses per sec. In the trachea, EFS caused an atropine-sensitive contraction followed by a maintained relaxation. The relaxation consisted of adrenergic and nonadrenergic components. In the bronchus, EFS caused a maintained contraction. This contraction was due to a combination of cholinergic (atropine-sensitive) and noncholinergic (capsaicin-sensitive) mechanisms. Histamine could not be detected in superfusate samples during electrical stimulation alone of either the trachea or bronchus. EFS significantly inhibited ovalbumin-induced tracheal contractions by about 30% without altering ovalbumin-induced histamine or immunoreactive peptidoleukotriene release from the tissues. EFS had a similar inhibitory effect on the contraction induced by application of exogenous histamine (10-5 M). The electrical stimulus-induced inhibition of the antigen-induced contraction was abolished by tetrodotoxin and propranolol and reduced by a combination of atropine, propranolol and phentolamine. Norepinephrine (5 x 10-6 M) inhibited ovalbumin-induced histamine release by about 30% without altering the contraction. Carbamylcholine had no effect on ovalbumin-induced histamine release. In the guinea pig bronchus, EFS stimulation had no effect on either histamine release or contraction induced by ovalbumin. These results demonstrate that in the guinea pig trachea nerve stimulation can significantly antagonize antigen-induced contractions and suggest that this is due to a functional antagonism by adrenergic and nonadrenergic relaxant neurotransmitters at the level of the airway smooth muscle. The data support the conclusion that the nerves of the guinea pig central airways are unlikely to have an important regulatory role on the function of the airway mast cell.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)23-30
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacology and Experimental Therapeutics
Issue number1
StatePublished - 1989

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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