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Carbachol and bradykinin elevate cyclic AMP and rapidly deplete ATP in cultured rat sympathetic neurons.

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    The agonists carbachol (CCh) and bradykinin (BK) and 54 mM KCl (high K+) were among the most potent stimulants of cyclic AMP (cAMP) production in cultured rat sympathetic neurons, measured with the use of a high-fidelity assay developed for small samples. The rise in cAMP evoked by CCh (through muscarinic receptors), BK, and high K+ was inhibited in Ca2(+)-depleted medium (1.3 mM Ca2+ and 2 mM BAPTA or EGTA), which also prevented the sustained rise in [Ca2+]i evoked by each of these stimuli, showing that elevation of cAMP requires extracellular Ca2+ and, possibly, Ca2+ influx. Preliminary results obtained with the novel calmodulin inhibitor CGS 9343B, which blocked the elevation of cAMP, and with the cyclogenase inhibitor indomethacin, which partially blocked the actions of the agonists but not those of high K+, suggest that calmodulin and arachidonate metabolites may be two components of the signaling pathway. In addition to their effects on cAMP metabolism, CCh, muscarine, and BK, but not nicotine, caused a 30-40% decrease in ATP levels. This effect was much greater than that evoked by high K+ and was largely inhibited by CGS 9343B but slightly enhanced in the Ca(+)-depleted medium, showing that agonists are still active in the absence of [Ca2+]o. Thus, agonists that activate phosphoinositide metabolism can also increase cAMP production and substantially deplete cells of ATP. These novel actions may have to be taken into account when the mechanisms by which such agonists regulate cell function are being considered.