• Nicotine;
  • vasodilation;
  • calcitonin gene-related peptide-containing nerves;
  • nicotinic receptor;
  • vanilloid receptor-1;
  • adrenergic nerves;
  • rat mesenteric resistance artery
  • Previous studies showed that nicotine induces adrenergic nerve-dependent vasodilation that is mediated by endogenous calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP) released from CGRP-containing (CGRPergic) nerves. The mechanisms underlying the nicotine-induced vasodilation were further studied.

  • Rat mesenteric vascular beds without endothelium were contracted by perfusion with Krebs solution containing methoxamine, and the perfusion pressure was measured with a pressure transducer.

  • Perfusion of nicotine (1–100 μM) for 1 min caused concentration-dependent vasodilation. Capsazepine (vanilloid receptor-1 antagonist; 1–10 μM) and ruthenium red (inhibitor of vanilloid response; 1–30 μM) concentration-dependently inhibited the nicotine-induced vasodilation without affecting the vasodilator response to exogenous CGRP.

  • Nicotine-induced vasodilation was not inhibited by treatment with 3,4-dihydroxyphenylalanine (DOPA) receptor antagonist (L-DOPA cyclohexyl ester; 0.001–10 μM), dopamine D1 receptor-selective antagonist (SCH23390; 1–10 μM), dopamine D2 receptor antagonist (haloperidol; 0.1–0.5 μM), ATP P2x receptor-desensitizing agonist (α,β-methylene ATP; 1–10 μM), adenosine A2 receptor antagonist (8(p-sulfophenyl)theophylline; 10–50 μM) or neuropeptide Y (NPY)-Y1 receptor antagonist (BIBP3226; 0.1–0.5 μM).

  • Immunohistochemical staining of the mesenteric artery showed dense innervation of CGRP- and vanilloid receptor-1-positive nerves, with both immunostainings appearing in the same neuron. The mesenteric artery was also densely innervated by NPY-positive nerves. Double immunostainings showed that both NPY and CGRP immunoreactivities appeared in the same neuron of the artery.

  • These results suggest that nicotine acts on presynaptic nicotinic receptors to release adrenergic neurotransmitter(s) or related substance(s), which then stimulate vanilloid receptor-1 on CGRPergic nerves, resulting in CGRP release and vasodilation.

British Journal of Pharmacology (2004) 142, 1137–1146. doi:10.1038/sj.bjp.0705773