Sympathetic and nonsympathetic neuropeptide Y-containing nerves in the rat myocardium and coronary arteries.
We have examined the neuropeptide Y-containing intrinsic nerves of the heart in young (6-week-old) and adult (4-month-old) rats to determine whether they project to the coronary arteries or are capable of doing so if the neuropeptide Y-containing extrinsic nerves are removed. Chronic treatment of neonates with guanethidine was used to permanently destroy the sympathetic nerves. In the young treated animals, 33-54% of the neuropeptide Y remained in the heart despite a 90-99% reduction in norepinephrine; these proportions did not change in the animals that were allowed to develop to adulthood. The level of neuropeptide Y in the right atrium of young animals was unexpectedly high (252 +/- 28.7 pmol/g) compared with adults (75.4 +/- 18.8 pmol/g). The coronary arteries in the control rats received a moderately dense supply of neuropeptide Y-containing nerves; after guanethidine, all neuropeptide Y-containing nerves innervating the large coronary arteries disappeared, but some were still seen in association with small resistance vessels. No compensatory proliferation of the intrinsic neuropeptide Y-containing neurons occurred in the adult sympathectomized animals, and the intrinsic nerves did not reinnervate the large coronary arteries. These results are discussed in relation to the clinical syndrome of coronary artery spasm.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association