Depressed perivascular sensory innervation of mouse mesenteric arteries with advanced age

Boerman, E. M., & Segal, S. S.

The Journal of physiology 594.8 (2016): 2323-2338.

Vascular dysfunction and sympathetic nerve activity increase with advancing age. In the gut, blood flow is governed by perivascular sensory and sympathetic nerves but little is known of how their functional role is affected by advanced age. We tested the hypothesis that functional sensory innervation of mesenteric arteries (MAs) is impaired for Old (24 months) versus Young (4 months) C57BL/6 male mice. In cannulated pressurized MAs preconstricted 50% with noradrenaline and treated with guanethidine (to inhibit sympathetic neurotransmission), perivascular nerve stimulation (PNS) evoked dilatation in Young but not Old MAs while dilatations to ACh were not different between age groups. In Young MAs, capsaicin (to inhibit sensory neurotransmission) blocked dilatation and increased constriction during PNS. With no difference in efficacy, the EC50 of CGRP as a vasodilator was ∼6-fold greater in Old versus Young MAs. Inhibiting nitric oxide (l-NAME) and prostaglandin (indomethacin) synthesis increased CGRP EC50 in both age groups. Endothelial denudation reduced the efficacy of dilatation to CGRP by ∼30% in Old MAs yet increased this efficacy ∼15% in Young MAs while all dilatations to ACh were abolished. Immunolabelling revealed reduced density of sensory (CGRP) but not sympathetic (tyrosine hydroxylase) innervation for Old versus Young MAs. Whereas the distribution of CGRP receptor proteins was similar in SMCs, RAMP1 associated with nuclear regions of endothelial cells of Old but not Young MAs. With advanced age, the loss of sensory nerve function and diminished effectiveness of CGRP as a vasodilator is multifaceted and may adversely affect splanchnic perfusion.

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