Pharmacological identification of acetylcholine receptor subtypes in echinoderm smooth muscle (Sclerodactyla briareus)

C. Leah Devlin, Walter Schlosser, Doreen T. Belz, Katie Kodiak, Robert F. Nash, Nicholas Zitomer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Scopus citations


Contractions of an echinoderm (sp. Sclerodactyla briareus) smooth muscle, the longitudinal muscle of the body wall (LMBW), were evoked by acetylcholine (ACh) and agonists: epibatidine, muscarine and nicotine (in order of force generation: ACh>muscarine=epibatidine>nicotine). ACh-induced contractions were blocked by atropine by 50%, and methoctramine, by 30%. ACh responses were also blocked by 25% by methyllycaconitine (MLA) but not by D-tubocurarine (dTC). Muscarine initiated large contractions that were completely blocked by atropine. To elucidate possible muscarinic ACh receptor (mAChR) subtypes, muscarinic agonists (oxotremorine, pilocarpine) and antagonists (methoctramine, pirenzepine) were tested. Oxotremorine, pilocarpine, and pirenzepine each enhanced resting tonus and potentiated ACh-induced contractions (order of potency: pilocarpine>oxotremorine=pirenzepine). Muscarine, oxotremorine or pirenzepine generated phasic, rhythmic contractions. Nicotine-induced contractions were almost completely blocked by dTC but were not altered by atropine. Large contractions evoked by epibatidine were potentiated by dTC whereas atropine had no effect on them. MLA blocked spontaneous rhythmicity. Cholinesterase inhibitors, neostigmine or physostigmine, caused marked potentiation of ACh-induced contractions and initiated rhythmic slow wave contractions in previously quiescent muscles. The present pharmacological evidence points to the co-existence of excitatory nicotinic ACh receptor (nAChRs) and mAChRs where nAChRs possibly modulate tone, and the mAChRs initiate and enhance rhythmicity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)53-64
Number of pages12
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - C Pharmacology Toxicology and Endocrinology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2000

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Immunology
  • Pharmacology


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