Catestatin has an unexpected effect on the intrathecal actions of PACAP dramatically reducing blood pressure

Andrea H. Gaede, Melissa A. Inglott, Melissa M. J. Farnham, Paul M. Pilowsky

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

6 Citations (Scopus)


This study focuses on presympathetic neurons of the rostral ventrolateral medulla (RVLM) that regulate sympathetic vasomotor tone. Many neurotransmitters are colocalized in RVLM neurons and are released under specific conditions to modulate efferent homeostatic responses. Of particular interest here are two peptides colocalized in catecholaminergic RVLM neurons: catestatin and pituitary adenylate cyclase-activating polypeptide (PACAP). Chromogranin A-derived catestatin is a potent endogenous noncompetitive nicotinic and adrenoreceptor antagonist. Catestatin impairs adenylate cyclase and phospholipase C action: mechanisms engaged by PACAP. Although PACAP and catestatin are likely coreleased, the possible effects of this are unknown. We aimed to determine whether catestatin affects the normal sympathoexcitatory but isotensive responses to intrathecal PACAP. Urethane-anesthetized, vagotomized, ventilated Sprague-Dawley rats (n = 22) were given an intrathecal injection of catestatin at different times prior to intrathecal administration of PACAP-38. Arterial pressure, splanchnic sympathetic nerve activity, heart rate, and reflex responses to baroreceptor and chemoreceptor activation were recorded. The key findings of this study are that pretreatment with catestatin time dependently enhances the PACAP-38 effect on mean arterial pressure and enhances sympathetic barosensitivity and chemosensitivity. The timescale of the effect of catestatin on the response to PACAP-38 strongly suggests that catestatin is either causing changes in gene expression to exert its effects, or modifying intracellular mechanisms normally engaged by PAC1 receptors. The ability of catestatin pretreatment to enhance barosensitivity and chemosensitivity after PACAP-38 injection supports the hypothesis that catestatin manipulates the intracellular environment within sympathetic neurons in a way that increases responses to PACAP.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)R719–R726
Number of pages8
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Regulatory Integrative and Comparative Physiology
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished - 1 Oct 2012


  • Baroreflex
  • Chemoreflex
  • Chromogranin a
  • Epinephrine
  • Sympathetic


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