Vasoactive intestinal polypeptide and muscarinic receptors: supersensitivity induced by long-term atropine treatment

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Science  29 Apr 1983:
Vol. 220, Issue 4596, pp. 519-521
DOI: 10.1126/science.6132446


Long-term treatment of rats with atropine induced large increases in the numbers of muscarinic receptors and receptors for vasoactive intestinal polypeptide in the salivary glands. Since receptors for vasoactive intestinal polypeptide coexist with muscarinic receptors on the same neurons in this preparation, the results suggest that a drug that alters the sensitivity of one receptor may also affect the sensitivity of the receptor for a costored transmitter and in this way contribute to the therapeutic or side effects of the drugs.