Opioid and Nitric Oxide Interaction in the Control of Heart Rate




Farias III, Martin


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Farias III, Martin, Opioid and Nitric Oxide Interaction in the Control of Heart Rate. Doctor of Philosophy (Biomedical Sciences), December 2002, 130 pp, 2 tables, 30 figures. Understanding of the role endogenous opioids play as modulators of parasympathetic function has increased. The endogenous opioid, methionine-enkephalin arginine phenylalanine (MEAP) attenuates vagal control of heart rate when delivered by microdialysis directly in the canine sinoatrial node. This effect was mimicked by the δ-2 agonist, deltorphin-II indicating involvement by a δ-opioid receptor. The nodal delivery of the δ-antagonist naltrindole abolished the effect of deltorphin-II, further supporting the delta character of the receptor. Although the findings suggested that the opioid receptor mediating vagolysis was delta in character, the exact subtype of δ-receptor remained in question. Selective agonist and antagonists for δ-1 and δ-2 opioid receptors were employed to determine which subtype of δ-receptor mediated MEAP vagolysis. In these experiments, vagolysis produced by the nodal delivery of MEAP was unaltered by the highly selective δ-1 antagonist BNTX but abolished by the δ-2 antagonist, naltriben. Nodal delivery of deltorphin-II attenuated vagal bradycardia similar to MEAP while δ-1 agonists, DPDPE and TAN-67 failed to interrupt vagal bradycardia. TAN-67 actually improved vagal transmission and this effect was reversed by BNTX. These data indicate that δ-2 opioid receptors in the sinoatrial node and vagolytic and support the presence of vagotonic δ-1-opioid receptors in the same location. Nitric Oxide/Opioid Interaction. The hypothesis that intranodal nitric oxide synthase (NOS) modulates vagal transmission and that MEAP attenuates vagal bradycardia via the interruption of the NOS-cGMP pathway was tested. The general (L-NAME) and neuronal (7-nitroindazole) NOS inhibitors each attenuated vagal bradycardia and both effects were reversed by adding excess of the NOS substrate, L-arginine. These findings suggested that nNOS was a necessary component of vagal bradycardia in the canine sinoatrial node. Various probes of the NOS-cGMP pathway (L-arginine, SNAP, cGMP, and IBMX) were employed to determine if MEAP interrupted this pathway to produce vagolysis. The delivery of MEAP into the sinoatrial node for sixty minutes exerted a consistent vagolytic effect during vagal simulations. When MEAP was combined with a NOS pathway components, the vagolytic effect was reversed after 15-45 minutes of treatment. These findings suggested that MEAP exerted its effect by interacting with the NOW-cGMP system. The site of convergence maybe cAMP since the phosphodiesterase inhibitor, IBMX (by allowing the accumulation of cAMP) reversed the vagolytic effect of MEAP. To rule out a postjunctional effect, MEAP and the NOS inhibitors were combined with the direct acting muscarinic agonist, methacholine. The bradycardia produced by methacholine was unaltered by MEAP or nNOS inhibitors. This suggested that the effect of NOS inhibitors and MEAP were prejunctional. In summary, the cumulative findings suggest that MEAP, by activating δ-2-opioid receptors, attenuated vagal bradycardia prejunctionally, through modulating the cAMP component of the NOS-cGMP pathway in the canine sinoatrial node.