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Comp Biochem Physiol C Toxicol Pharmacol. 2010 May;151(4):467-72. doi: 10.1016/j.cbpc.2010.02.003. Epub 2010 Feb 16.

Biogenic amines modulate pulse rate in the dorsal blood vessel of Lumbriculus variegatus.

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  • 1Biology Department and Neuroscience Program, St. Olaf College, Northfield, MN 55057, USA.


The biogenic amines are widespread regulators of physiological processes, and play an important role in regulating heart rate in diverse organisms. Here, we present the first pharmacological evidence for a role of the biogenic amines in the regulation of dorsal blood vessel pulse rate in an aquatic oligochaete, Lumbriculus variegatus (Müller, 1774). Bath application of octopamine to intact worms resulted in an acceleration of pulse rate, but not when co-applied with the adenylyl cyclase inhibitor MDL-12,330a. The phosphodiesterase inhibitor theophylline mimicked the effects of OA, but the polar adenosine receptor antagonist 8(p-sulphophenyl)theophylline was significantly less potent than theophylline. Pharmacologically blocking synaptic reuptake of the biogenic amines using the selective 5-HT reuptake blocker fluoxetine or various tricyclic antidepressants also accelerated heart rate. Depletion of the biogenic amines by treatment with the monoamine vesicular transporter blocker reserpine dramatically depressed pulse rate. Pulse rate was partially restored in amine-depleted worms after treatment with octopamine or dopamine, but fully restored following treatment with serotonin. This effect of 5-HT was weakly mimicked by 5-methoxytryptamine, but not by alpha-methylserotonin; it was completely blocked by clozapine and partially blocked by cyproheptadine. Because they are known to orchestrate a variety of adaptive behaviors in invertebrates, the biogenic amines may coordinate blood flow with behavioral state in L.variegatus.

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