Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)



First Advisor

George C. Wellman

Second Advisor

Victor May


Tight regulation of cephalic blood circulation is critical under normal physiological conditions, and dysregulation of blood flow to the head occurs in pathophysiological situations such as stroke and migraine headache. The facial artery is an extracranial artery which is one of branches from the external carotid artery territory and its extracranial position indicates its importance in regulating head hemodynamics. Transient receptor potential vanniloid type 1 (TRPV1) is a cation channel permeable to Ca2+ and Na+. Intracellular Ca2+ increase causes vasoconstriction. A previous study indicated the presence of TRPV1 in smooth muscle cells in the facial artery. Protein kinase C (PKC) is found to sensitize TRPV1 channels in neurons. Our lab's preliminary data suggested PKC modulates TRPV1 in the middle meningeal artery. Serotonin (5-HT) is an endogenous vasoconstrictor, and the 5-HT2 receptor is a Gq-protein-coupled receptor that activates PKC. In the present study, we found that 5-HT caused facial artery constriction. Thus, we studied whether TRPV1 channel acting as a Ca2+ entry channel is involved in 5-HT induced facial artery constriction. We used a pressurized arteriography technique to examine the artery diameter. The results indicate that 1) TRPV1 antagonist blunted 30 nM 5-HT-induced mouse facial artery constriction. 5-HT constriction on the facial artery from TRPV1 knock out mice was significantly blunted compared to the constriction on the facial artery from wild type mice; 2) PKC, which is a downstream signaling molecule of 5-HT2 receptor, is involved in capsaicin (TRPV1 agonist)-induced facial artery constriction; 3) 5-HT-induced facial artery constriction is mediated mostly by activation of 5-HT1 and 5-HT2 receptors; 4) 5-HT2 but not 5-HT1 receptor is involved in 5-HT-induced facial artery constriction via opening of TRPV1 channels; 5) PKC may be involved in 5-HT-induced facial artery constriction; 6) The L-type-voltage-dependent Ca2+ channel is involved in 5-HT-induced facial artery constriction. We conclude that activation of TRPV1 channel contributes to serotonin-induced 5-HT2 receptor-mediated constriction of the mouse facial artery.



Number of Pages

89 p.

Included in

Pharmacology Commons