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J Auton Nerv Syst. 1998 May 28;70(1-2):15-22.

Calcitonin gene-related peptide and nitric oxide in the trigeminal ganglion: cerebral vasodilatation from trigeminal nerve stimulation involves mainly calcitonin gene-related peptide.

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  • 1Department of Internal Medicine, Lund University Hospital, Sweden. lars.edvinsson@med.lu.se


Nitric oxide (NO) is a novel neurotransmitter candidate to which a large number of physiological roles has been ascribed. In the present study, immunocytochemistry was used to demonstrate NO synthase (NOS) and to investigate possible co-localization with other neurotransmitters. In the trigeminal ganglion of the cat, a moderate number of NOS immunoreactive nerve cell bodies was seen, of which the major part also expressed calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP). The nerve cell bodies expressing NOS in the trigeminal ganglion were predominantly of small to medium size; while numerous cell bodies of varying size contained CGRP. With in situ hybridization using oligonucleotide probes, CGRP mRNA was demonstrated in almost all trigeminal neurons of the cat. Stimulation of the nasociliary nerve resulted in a frequency-dependent increase in ipsilateral local cortical blood flow by 30 +/- 6%. Administration of the NOS inhibitor NG-nitro-L-arginine-methylester (L-NAME) did not significantly alter this response when applied intravenously or on the cortical surface. Local cortical administration of the CGRP blocker h-CGRP (8-37) did not alter the cerebral vasodilator response to hypercapnia or resting flow. However, the nasociliary nerve response was reduced by 50% after h-CGRP (8-37), with a general shift to the right of the frequency-response curve. These data suggest that although NOS is seen in several trigeminal ganglion cells and coexists with CGRP in a subpopulation of the sensory neurons, its role in trigeminally mediated vasodilatation was not significant.

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