Distribution of choline acetyltransferase in cerebral and extracerebral cranial arteries of the cat. Its relationship to neurogenic atropine-sensitive dilation.
Choline-acetyltransferase (ChAT) activity was surveyed in segments of cranial arteries--both cerebral and extracerebral--from the cat. High levels were found in pial arteries, both cerebral and cerebellar, and in the arteries to salivary glands, tongue, and nose. Intermediate levels were found in the external and internal maxillary arteries and many of their branches. Enzyme levels in the arteries supplying the head--common carotid, vertebral, and in several systemic arteries and veins and also the lingual vein--were probably not significant. Only those vessels that have higher ChAT contents show capacity for neurogenic vasodilation. The dilation of segments of a number of these arteries, the basilar, middle cerebral, lingual, and internal maxillary, is reduced significantly by atropine (5 X 10(-7) M). ChAT activity did not correlate with vessel norepinephrine content. The data may be interpreted as defining a functional vasodilator system to the head encompassing both cerebral and extracerebral arteries that depends in part on a functional cholinergic link involving a muscarinic receptor. It is separate from the adrenergic outflow. The tissues supplied by vasculature receiving this type of innervation are of ectodermal origin.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association