PACAP controls adrenomedullary catecholamine secretion and expression of catecholamine biosynthetic enzymes at high splanchnic nerve firing rates characteristic of stress transduction in male mice

N. Stroth, B. A. Kuri, T. Mustafa, S. A. Chan, Corey B. Smith, L. E. Eiden

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47 Citations (Scopus)


The neuropeptide PACAP (pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide) is a cotransmitter of acetylcholine at the adrenomedullary synapse, where autonomic regulation of hormone secretion occurs. We have previously reported that survival of prolonged metabolic stress in mice requires PACAP-dependent biosynthesis and secretion of adrenomedullary catecholamines (CAs). In the present experiments, we show that CA secretion evoked by direct high-frequency stimulation of the splanchnic nerve is abolished in native adrenal slices from male PACAP-deficient mice. Further, we demonstrate that PACAP is both necessary and sufficient for CA secretion ex vivo during stimulation protocols designed to mimic stress. In vivo, up-regulation of transcripts encoding adrenomedullary CA-synthesizing enzymes (tyrosine hydroxylase, phenylethanolamine N-methyltransferase) in response to both psychogenic and metabolic stressors (restraint and hypoglycemia) is PACAP-dependent. Stressor-induced alteration of the adrenomedullary secretory cocktail also appears to require PACAP, because up-regulation of galanin mRNA is abrogated in male PACAP-deficient mice. We further show that hypoglycemia-induced corticosterone secretion is not PACAP-dependent, ruling out the possibility that glucocorticoids are the main mediators of the aforementioned effects. Instead, experiments with bovine chromaffin cells suggest that PACAP acts directly at the level of the adrenal medulla. By integrating prolonged CA secretion, expression of biosynthetic enzymes and production of modulatory neuropeptides such as galanin, PACAP is crucial for adrenomedullary function. Importantly, our results show that PACAP is the dominant adrenomedullary neurotransmitter during conditions of enhanced secretory demand.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)330-339
Number of pages10
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2013
Externally publishedYes

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