Control of porcine lacrimal gland secretion by non-cholinergic, non- adrenergic nerves: Effects of electrical field stimulation, VIP and NPY

Ernest A. Adeghate, Jaipaul Singh, Frank C. Howarth, Shuna Burrows

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10 Citations (Scopus)


This study employs the technique of electrical field stimulation (EFS) to characterise the effects of endogenous neurotransmitters on protein secretion in the in vitro pig lacrimal gland. The effects of exogenous applications of neurotransmitters on protein output and peroxidase secretion were also investigated for comparative purposes. EFS evoked frequency- dependent (5-20 Hz) increases in protein secretion. The EFS-evoked protein output was abolished with the nerve blocking drug tetrodotoxin (10-6 M, TTX). Elevated potassium (100 mM KCl) can stimulate protein output in the presence of TTX. Exogenous application of either acetylcholine (ACh, 10-9 10-4 M) or noradrenaline (NA, 10-8-10-4 M) can also result in protein secretion, but they have no detectable effect on peroxidase secretion. In the presence of the cholinergic antagonist, atropine (10-5 M) the EFS-induced protein output was reduced but not abolished. This atropine-resistant and non-cholinergic nerve-mediated component was further reduced in the combined presence of atropine, phentolamine, and propranolol (all 10-5 M). When vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) receptor antagonist (10-6 M [4-Cl- D-Phe6-Leu17]-VIP) was combined with the cholinergic and adrenergic antagonists, EFS caused a small but detectable increase in protein output. Exogenous application of either 10-9 M VIP or 10-9 M neuropeptide-Y (NPY) resulted in protein secretion. Combination of both VIP and NPY only induced an additive effect on protein output. Theophylline (10-4 M), a phosphodiesterase inhibitor, evoked a small increase in protein output and had no significant effect on the secretory responses elicited by either VIP or NPY. In contrast, theophylline potentiated the non-cholinergic, non- adrenergic EFS-induced protein secretion. The results indicate that protein secretion from the porcine lacrimal gland may be controlled by cholinergic, adrenergic and non-cholinergic, non-adrenergic nerves. The peptidergic neurotransmitters may be VIP and other related neuropeptide(s). In addition to these neurophysiological studies, our results confirm previous findings that the porcine lacrimal nerves contain abundant quantity of NPY and VIP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)127-135
Number of pages9
JournalBrain Research
Issue number1-2
Publication statusPublished - May 30 1997


  • Electrical field stimulation
  • Lacrimal gland
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Pig
  • Protein secretion
  • Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Neuroscience
  • Molecular Biology
  • Clinical Neurology
  • Developmental Biology


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