Muscarinic receptor regulation of synaptic transmission in airway parasympathetic ganglia

Allen C. Myers, Bradley J. Undem

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Scopus citations


Muscarinic receptor regulation of synaptic transmission in guinea pig bronchial parasympathetic ganglia was evaluated with the use of intracellular recording of the intrinsic ganglion neurons. Methacholine (1 μM) decreased the amplitude of vagus nerve-stimulated fast excitatory postsynaptic potentials (fEPSP) by 33 and 46% (at 0.8 and 8.0 Hz, respectively) but had no effect on the amplitude of the depolarizations evoked by a bath-applied nicotinic receptor agonist. Methoctramine (1 μM) inhibited methacholine's effect on fEPSP but alone did not influence the magnitude of the fEPSP evoked by vagus nerve stimulation. Methacholine (10 μM) depolarized a subpopulation of neurons (~4 mV), which was blocked by pirenzepine (0.1 μM). In other neurons, either no effect or a small (1-5 mV) hyperpolarization was noted. Cholinergic contractions of bronchial smooth muscle elicited by electrical field stimulation were potentiated by methoctramine to the same extent as those evoked by vagus nerve (preganglionic) stimulation. The data indicate that M2 receptor activation can lead to inhibition of presynaptic acetylcholine release and consequently a significant inhibition of synaptic transmission in bronchial parasympathetic ganglia. The physiological role of this neuromodulatory effect appears limited, however, when studied in the in vitro setting.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)L630-L636
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Lung Cellular and Molecular Physiology
Issue number4 14-4
StatePublished - Apr 1996


  • acetylcholine
  • airway smooth muscle
  • autoreceptors
  • inhibitory muscarinic receptor
  • muscarinic M
  • muscarinic M

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pulmonary and Respiratory Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Cell Biology


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