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Brain Res. 1997 Dec 5;778(1):25-33.

Distribution of muscarinic receptors on the endothelium of cortical vessels in the rat brain.

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Laboratoire de recherches cérébrovasculaires, CNRS URA 641, IFR 6, Université Paris VII, France.


Functional and pharmacological studies have suggested that there are muscarinic receptors (mAChRs) on the endothelial cells of major cerebral arteries, while recent immunological studies indicate that there are no mAChRs on the endothelium of brain capillaries. This difference may be because the distribution of mAChR on the endothelium varies with the type of vessel. This paper examines the distribution of mAChR on the vascular endothelium along intraparenchymal blood vessels in the rat brain by immunolabelling and laser confocal microscopy. Sections were immunostained by combinations of an anti-mAChR antibody (M35) with antibodies to endothelial (anti-GLUT1), or to smooth muscle markers (anti-actin). Antibody labellings were detected with fluorescent second antibodies. Most of the penetrating vessels bore mAChR immunolabelling which coincided over almost all the vessel surface with endothelial labelling. The mAChR immunolabelling was less widespread over the endothelium on the medium sized vessels (diameter < 50 microm) and only 50% of these vessels had mAChR staining on the endothelium. There was no mAChR immunostaining on the endothelium of the capillaries. In contrast with the basilar artery, there was no mAChR immunolabelling on the smooth muscle layer of the intracortical vessels. These data indicate that the intensity of mAChR immunolabelling decreases along the vascular tree from large conducting vessels to capillaries.

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