Dissociation between the Electrophysiological Properties and Total Tissue Cyclic Guanosine Monophosphate Content of Guinea Pig Atria

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The purpose of this study was to investigate the role of cyclic guanosine monophosphate

(cyclic GMP) in mediating the direct electrophysiological effects of acetylcholine in guinea pig atria. Acetylcholine significantly diminished spontaneous rate of right atria without increasing cyclic GMP content. Reductions in rate following acetylcholine were augmented by pretreatment with physostig- mine, but cyclic GMP levels remained unchanged. In left atria, acetylcholine significantly shortened action potential duration within 5 seconds (both with and without physostigmine pretreatment), but cyclic GMP content was not significantly elevated. Cyclic GMP levels in right atria were significantly increased in response to acetylcholine when the Ca+2 content of the buffer was elevated from 1.25 mu to 2.5 mM; however, reductions in automaticity in the right atria were not augmented in the high Ca2+buffer. Marked increases in cyclic GMP content were produced by Na nitroprusside superfusion without changing automaticity of right atria or action potential duration of left atria. Finally, both right and left atria were superfused with cyclic GMP analogs (8-bromo cyclic GMP and dibutyryl cyclic GMP) at high concentrations (10−4) for 15 minutes without producing significant effects on spontaneous rate or action potential duration. These results failed to show a correlation between total tissue cyclic GMP content and the electrophysiological effects of acetylcholine on guinea pig atria. The reasons for this are either that cyclic GMP does not mediate directly the electrophysiological effects of acetylcholine, or that small changes in cyclic GMP concentrations, undetectable when total tissue nucleotide levels are measured, occur in discrete effector pools of the cardiac cell to mediate the intracellular effects of the choline ester. Ore Res 45: 225-233, 1979

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