Mechanisms of acetylcholine-mediated vasodilation in systemic arteries from mourning doves (Zenaida macroura)

Catherine Jarrett, Mateja Lekic, Christina L. Smith, Carolina M. Pusec, Karen Sweazea

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

14 Scopus citations


For mammals, acetylcholine (ACh) promotes endothelium-dependent vasodilation primarily through nitric oxide (NO) and prostaglandin-mediated pathways, with varying reliance on endothelial-derived hyperpolarizing factors. Currently, no studies have been conducted on small systemic arteries from wild birds. We hypothesized that ACh-mediated vasodilation of isolated small arteries from mourning doves (Zenaida macroura) would likewise depend on endothelial-derived factors. Small resistance mesenteric and cranial tibial (c. tibial) arteries (80-150 μm, inner diameter) were cannulated and pre-constricted to 50 % of resting inner diameter with phenylephrine then exposed to increasing concentrations of ACh (10-9-10-5 M) or the NO donor, sodium nitroprusside (SNP; 10-12-10-3 M). For mesenteric arteries, ACh-mediated vasodilation was significantly blunted with the potassium channel antagonist tetraethylammonium chloride (TEA, 10 mM); whereas responses were only moderately impaired with endothelial disruption or inhibition of prostaglandins (indomethacin, 10 μM). In contrast, endothelial disruption as well as exposure to TEA largely abolished vasodilatory responses to ACh in c. tibial arteries while no effect of prostaglandin inhibition was observed. For both vascular beds, responses to ACh were moderately dependent on the NO signaling pathway. Inhibition of NO synthase had no impact, despite complete reversal of phenylephrine-mediated tone with SNP, whereas inhibition of soluble guanylate cyclase (sGC) caused minor impairments. Endothelium-independent vasodilation also relied on potassium channels. In summary, ACh-mediated vasodilation of mesenteric and c. tibial arteries occurs through the activation of potassium channels to induce hyperpolarization with moderate reliance on sGC. Prostaglandins likewise play a small role in the vasodilatory response to ACh in mesenteric arteries.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)959-967
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Comparative Physiology B: Biochemical, Systemic, and Environmental Physiology
Issue number7
StatePublished - Oct 2013


  • Acetylcholine
  • Artery
  • Avian
  • Potassium
  • Vasodilation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Endocrinology


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