Tachykinins are involved in local reflex modulation of vagally mediated striated muscle contractions in the rat esophagus via tachykinin NK1 receptors

T. Shiina, Y. Shimizu, A. Boudaka, J. Wörl, T. Takewaki

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The objective of the present study was to investigate the hypothesis of the presence of a local neural reflex modulating the vagally mediated contractions of striated muscle in the rat esophagus and to determine the possible involvement of tachykinins in such a local neural reflex. Electrical stimulation of the vagus nerve evoked twitch contractile responses that were abolished by d-tubocurarine (5μM). Capsaicin (1-100μM) inhibited the vagally mediated twitch contractions of the normal rat esophageal preparations concentration-dependently but not those of the neonatally capsaicin-treated ones. NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (100μM), a nitric oxide synthase inhibitor, blocked the inhibitory effect of capsaicin and exogenous application of a nitric oxide donor (1mM) inhibited the vagally mediated twitch contractions. Capsaicin suppressed acetylcholine release from the normal rat esophageal segments evoked by vagus nerve stimulation but not that from the neonatally capsaicin-treated ones. A selective tachykinin NK1 receptor antagonist (0.1 or 1μM) attenuated the inhibitory effect of capsaicin. However, antagonists of tachykinin NK2, tachykinin NK3 and calcitonin gene-related peptide receptors (1μM) did not have any effect. A tachykinin NK1 receptor agonist (1 or 5μM) inhibited the vagally mediated twitch contractions, which was prevented by NG-nitro-l-arginine methyl ester (100μM). These data suggest that the rat esophagus might have a local neural reflex inhibiting the vagally mediated striated muscle motility, which consists of capsaicin-sensitive sensory neurons and myenteric nitrergic neurons, and that tachykinins might be involved in the neural reflex through tachykinin NK1 receptors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)495-503
Number of pages9
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 2006



  • acetylcholine
  • capsaicin
  • enteric neuron
  • nitric oxide
  • primary afferent neuron

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Neuroscience(all)

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