Calcium channels controlling acetylcholine release from preganglionic nerve terminals in rat autonomic ganglia
Little is known about the nature of the calcium channels controlling neurotransmitter release from preganglionic parasympathetic nerve fibres. In the present study, the effects of selective calcium channel antagonists and amiloride were investigated on ganglionic neurotransmission. Conventional intracellular recording and focal extracellular recording techniques were used in rat submandibular and pelvic ganglia, respectively. Excitatory postsynaptic potentials and excitatory postsynaptic currents preceded by nerve terminal impulses were recorded as a measure of acetylcholine release from parasympathetic and sympathetic preganglionic fibres following nerve stimulation. The calcium channel antagonists ω-conotoxin GVIA (N type), nifedipine and nimodipine (L type), ω-conotoxin MVIIC and ω-agatoxin IVA (P/Q type), and Ni2+ (R type) had no functional inhibitory effects on synaptic transmission in both submandibular and pelvic ganglia. The potassium-sparing diuretic, amiloride, and its analogue, dimethyl amiloride, produced a reversible and concentration-dependent inhibition of excitatory postsynaptic potential amplitude in the rat submandibular ganglion. The amplitude and frequency of spontaneous excitatory postsynaptic potentials and the sensitivity of the postsynaptic membrane to acetylcholine were unaffected by amiloride. In the rat pelvic ganglion, amiloride produced a concentration-dependent inhibition of excitatory postsynaptic currents without causing any detectable effects on the amplitude or configuration of the nerve terminal impulse.These results indicate that neurotransmitter release from preganglionic parasympathetic and sympathetic nerve terminals is resistant to inhibition by specific calcium channel antagonists of N-, L-, P/Q- and R-type calcium channels. Amiloride acts presynaptically to inhibit evoked transmitter release, but does not prevent action potential propagation in the nerve terminals, suggesting that amiloride may block the pharmacologically distinct calcium channel type(s) on rat preganglionic nerve terminals.