Myocardial infarction stimulates galanin expression in cardiac sympathetic neurons

B. A. Habecker, K. R. Gritman, B. D. Willison, D. M. Van Winkle

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

28 Scopus citations


Cardiac ischemia-reperfusion alters sympathetic neurotransmission in the heart, but little is known about its effect on neuropeptide expression in sympathetic neurons. Ischemia followed by reperfusion induces the production of inflammatory cytokines in the heart, including interleukin-6 and cardiotrophin-1. These cytokines and related molecules inhibit the expression of neuropeptide Y (NPY), and stimulate the expression of vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP), substance P (SubP), and galanin (GAL) in cultured sympathetic neurons. Therefore, we quantified NPY, VIP, SubP, and GAL mRNA in neurons of the stellate ganglia 1 week after ischemia-reperfusion to determine if neuropeptide expression was altered in cardiac sympathetic neurons. NPY, VIP, and SubP mRNAs were unchanged compared to unoperated control animals, but GAL mRNA was increased significantly. The increased GAL mRNA was not accompanied by elevated GAL peptide content in the stellate ganglia. Galanin content was increased significantly in the heart, however, indicating that elevated GAL mRNA led to increased peptide production. GAL content was increased in the left ventricle below the coronary artery ligation, but was not increased significantly in the atria or the base of the heart above the ligation. The buildup of GAL specifically in the damaged left ventricle is consistent with previous reports that GAL is transported to regenerating nerve endings after axon damage.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)89-95
Number of pages7
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2005


  • Axotomy
  • Galanin
  • Neuropeptide Y
  • Substance P
  • Vasoactive intestinal peptide

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Endocrinology
  • Neurology
  • Endocrine and Autonomic Systems
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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