Pancuronium and gallamine are antagonists for pre- and post-junctional muscarinic receptors in the guinea-pig lung

Allison D. Fryer, Jennifer Maclagan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

39 Scopus citations


The effects of atropine, pancuronium and gallamine were tested on pre- and post-junctional muscarinic receptors in the lung. Inhibition of bronchoconstriction induced by intravenous injection of acetylcholine (ACh) was used as a measure of post-junctional receptor blockade. All three antagonists reduced ACh-induced bronchoconstriction. The effects were dose-related for atropine and pancuronium and complete inhibition was obtained with 0.01 mg/kg and 10 mg/kg respectively. Gallamine was much less potent than the other two drugs; the inhibitory effect was not dose-related and never exceeded 50% even at a dose of 10 mg/kg. In contrast, blockade of pre-junctional inhibitory muscarinic receptors in pulmonary parasympathetic nerves by these three antagonists, produced potentiation of bronchoconstriction induced by vagal-nerve stimulation. Consequently, the effect of the three antagonists on vagally-induced bronchoconstriction is dependent on the balance between their pre- and post-junctional blocking activity. Gallamine was the most effective and atropine the least effective antagonist for potentiating nerve-induced bronchoconstriction. At doses which produce 100% neuromuscular blockade, both pancuronium (0.04 mg/kg) and gallamine (4 mg/kg) potentiated vagally-induced bronchoconstriction. At these doses, pancuronium doubled and gallamine caused a four-fold increase in vagally-induced bronchoconstriction, despite partial concurrent blockade of muscarinic receptors in the smooth muscle of the airways.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)367-371
Number of pages5
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 1987
Externally publishedYes


  • Atropine
  • Gallamine
  • Pancuronium
  • Pre junctional receptors
  • Pulmonary muscarinic receptors

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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