Mechanosensitive vagal afferents in the lung, rapidly and slowly adapting receptors (RARs and SARs, respectively), play an important role in eliciting the reflexes that regulate the normal airway function. A profound bronchoconstrictive effect of 5-hydroxytryptamine (5-HT) has been extensively reported in varaious animal species, but its influence on the SAR and RAR activity is not known. This study investigated the effect of 5-HT on these receptors, and the possible mechanisms involved. Single-fiber activities of these afferents were measured in anesthetized, open-chest, and mechanically ventilated rats. Our results showed that intravenous injection of 5-HT evoked a consistent and pronounced stimulation of phasic RARs. In contrast, 5-HT generated an inconsistent and paradoxical action on SARs: no effect in 29% (5 of 17) of the SARs; stimulation in 35% (6 of 17); and inhibition in the remainder. These responses of both RARs and SARs to 5-HT were reproducible and dose-dependent. After the injection of a high dose of 5-HT (16 μg/kg), the receptor responses slowly reached a peak (after ∼8 s) and returned toward the baseline in ∼20 s, accompanied by a consistent increase in total pulmonary resistance and a decrease in dynamic lung compliance in a temporal pattern very similar to the increased receptor activity. When these changes in lung mechanics induced by 5-HT were prevented by pretreatment with salbutamol, a β2 adrenergic receptor agonist, the delayed responses of both RARs and SARs to 5-HT were also abolished, except that the immediate stimulatory effect on a subset of RARs, the silent RARs, was not affected. In conclusion, 5-HT generated a delayed stimulatory effect on RARs and a paradoxical effect on SARs, which resulted primarily from the 5-HT-induced changes in mechanical properties of the lung.
- rapidly adapting receptor
- slowly adapting receptor
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Materials Science (miscellaneous)