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Neurosci Lett. 1986 Jan 2;63(1):96-100.

Frequency- and reserpine-dependent chemical coding of sympathetic transmission: differential release of noradrenaline and neuropeptide Y from pig spleen.


The importance of impulse pattern and stimulation frequency for the release of noradrenaline (NA) and the coexisting peptide neuropeptide Y (NPY) in relation to vasoconstriction (perfusion-pressure increase) was studied in the blood-perfused pig spleen in vivo. Splenic nerve stimulation with intermittent bursts at high frequency (20 Hz) caused a several-fold larger release of NPY-like immunoreactivity (-LI) in relation to NA than a continuous stimulation at a low frequency (2 Hz), giving the same total number of impulses. alpha-Adrenoceptor blockade by phentolamine enhanced markedly both NA and NPY release, especially at low stimulation frequency, suggesting prejunctional adrenergic inhibition of release. Addition of propranolol unmasked a large remaining perfusion-pressure response to nerve stimulation. Reserpine treatment reduced the NA content of the spleen as well as the stimulation-evoked NA release by greater than 90%. However, the perfusion-pressure increase in response to nerve stimulation was well maintained. A marked increase in the stimulation-evoked release of NPY-LI occurred after reserpine. Adrenoceptor blockade after reserpine treatment reduced only slightly the perfusion-pressure response in parallel with a decline in NPY output. NPY caused an adrenoceptor-resistant perfusion-pressure increase at plasma concentrations that were in the same range as the maximal increase during nerve stimulations. In conclusion, the present data suggest a frequency-dependent, chemical coding of sympathetic transmission with preferential release of the classical transmitter NA at low, continuous frequencies and release of NPY, mainly at high frequencies. Reserpine treatment enhances markedly NPY release, which may explain why the functional response is largely intact in spite of adrenoceptor blockade and marked NA depletion.

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