The detection of the non-M2 muscarinic receptor subtype in the rat heart atria and ventricles
We have investigated the mechanisms by which stimulation of cardiac muscarinic receptors result in paradoxical stimulatory effects on cardiac function, using cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes as a model system. Application of low concentrations of carbachol (CCh) (EC50 = 35 nM) produced an atropine-sensitive decrease in spontaneous contraction rate, while, in cells pretreated with pertussis toxin, higher concentrations of CCh (EC50 = 26 microM) elicited an atropine-sensitive increase in contraction rate. Oxotremorine, an m2 muscarinic acetylcholine receptor (mAChR) agonist, mimicked the negative but not the positive chronotropic response to CCh. Reverse transcription followed by polymerase chain reaction carried out on mRNA obtained from single cells indicated that ventricular myocytes express mRNA for the m1, m2, and, possibly, m4 mAChRs. The presence of m1 and m2 mAChR protein on the surface membranes of the cultured ventricular myocytes was confirmed by immunofluorescence. The CCh-induced positive chronotropic response was significantly inhibited by fluorescein-tagged antisense oligonucleotides directed against the m1, but not the m2 and m4, mAChR subtypes. The response was also inhibited by antisense oligonucleotides against Gqalpha protein. Finally, inhibition of CCh-induced phosphoinositide hydrolysis with 500 microM neomycin or 5 microM U73122 completely abolished the CCh-induced positive chronotropic response. These results are consistent with the stimulatory effects of mAChR activation on the rate of contractions in cultured ventricular myocytes being mediated through the m1 mAChR coupled through Gq to phospholipase C-induced phosphoinositide hydrolysis.