Purinergic Transmission

  • G. Burnstock
Part of the Handbook of Psychopharmacology book series (HBKPS, volume 5)


It is now well established that there are intramural inhibitory neurons which are neither adrenergic nor cholinergic in the gastrointestinal tract of a wide range of vertebrate species (see Burnstock, 1969, 1972; Campbell, 1970; Furness and Costa, 1973). Evidence that these inhibitory responses are not due to adrenergic nerves is conclusive. Relaxation of intestine produced by stimulation of perivascular sympathetic nerves is prevented by low concentrations of α- and β-adrenoceptor antagonists or by adrenergic neuron blocking drugs, without affecting the inhibitory responses to transmural stimulation. Inhibitory junction potentials and relaxations in response to transmural stimulation are unimpaired in the guinea pig colon after degeneration of sympathetic adrenergic nerves (see Fig. 3). Relaxation of the guinea pig taenia coli in response to transmural stimulation or nicotine persists in organ cultures and in anterior eye chamber transplants after all adrenergic nerves have disappeared. Transmission from intrinsic inhibitory neurons has been recorded in avian gizzard and mammalian anal sphincter, which are contracted by catecholamines. Most recently, inhibitory nerve-mediated responses were demonstrated in developing fetal rabbit intestine before adrenergic nerves appeared (Gershon and Thompson, 1973).


Adenine Nucleotide Adrenergic Nerve Intestinal Smooth Muscle Taenia Coli Inhibitory Nerve 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1975

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Burnstock
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Anatomy and EmbryologyUniversity College LondonLondonUK

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