Two major populations of perivascular axons containing immunoreactivity to neuropeptide Y (NPY) have been revealed in the main uterine artery of the guinea pig by immunohistochemical procedures which allow the simultaneous visualization of two antigens. One population contained immunoreactivity to dopamine-β-hydroxylase (DβH) and was presumably noradrenergic. The other main population of axons with NPY-like immunoreactivity (NPY-LI) did not have DβH-like immunoreactivity (DβH-LI) and was presumably non-noradrenergic. These non-noradrenergic axons also contained immunoreactivity to vasoactive intestinal polypeptide (VIP) and dynorphin (DYN). Indeed, nearly all axons with VIP-LI also contained NPY-LI and DYN-like immunoreactivity (DYN-LI). NPY constricted the uterine artery perfused in vitro, whilst VIP dilated uterine arteries preconstricted with noradrenaline or NPY. Thus, we have evidence for the coexistence of a vasoconstrictor peptide and a vasodilator peptide in the same non-noradrenergic perivascular axons, which also contain an opioid peptide, dynorphin.
- guinea pig
- neuropeptide Y
- perivascular axon
- vasoactive intestinal polypeptide