Changes in the expression of a2-adrenergic receptor subtypes during maturation of neuronal cells from fetal pig superior cervical ganglia

N. Fraeyman, P. Vanscheeuwijck, J. M. Wang, Y. Huang, W. P. De Potter, J. W. Regan

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The expression of presynaptic a2-adrenergic receptor a2-AR subtypes was investigated in cultured neurons from fetal pig superior cervical ganglion SCG. Cells were incubated with chicken antibodies against a2A-, a2B- or a2C-AR subtypes either alone or together with antibodies against dopamine-b-hydroxylase DbH, a marker for adrenergic neurons or against choline acetyl transferase ChAT, a marker for cholinergic neurons. We found immunoreactivity for all three a2-AR subtypes in SCG-cells when cultured for 8-11 days. The relative expression of the a2A-subtype was approximately 1r3 of that of a2B- and a2C-AR. Co-localisation of all three a2-AR subtypes was observed in cells expressing DbH or ChAT. Increasing the potassium concentration in the culture medium increased the expression of DbH and decreased the expression of the a2A- and a2C-subtype without altering the expression of the a2B-subtype. Co-culture of neurons with pig splenocytes enhanced the expression of ChAT and decreased the expression of the a2B- subtype without altering the expression of a2A- and a2C-subtypes. Our results indicate that the three a2-receptor subtypes are expressed on both noradrenergic and cholinergic nerves. Induction of the noradrenergic phenotype favours the expression of the a2B-subtype over that of the a2A- and a2C-subtype. Conversely, enhancement of the cholinergic phenotype favours the expression of the a2A- and a2C-subtypes over that of the a2B- subtype. Our results suggest that the a2B-receptor is preferentially associated with noradrenergic nerve endings.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)127-132
Number of pages6
JournalDevelopmental Brain Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Sep 6 1999



  • Antibody
  • Immunostaining
  • In vitro cell culture
  • Presynaptic a-adrenoceptor
  • Superior cervical ganglion
  • a-Receptor subtype

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Developmental Neuroscience
  • Developmental Biology

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