Vasoactive intestinal peptide (VIP) and the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol stimulated cyclic AMP formation through independent receptors in isolated epithelial ceils of rat ventral prostate. The specific β-adrenergic antagonist propranolol inhibited the stimulatory effect of isoproterenol but not that of VIP. Besides small differences in the efficiency of both agents, results indicated that isoproterenol was 500 times less potent than VIP. Acetylcholine did not modify the basal cyclic AMP levels but inhibited the accumulation of the cyclic nucleotide in the presence of either VIP or isoproterenol. The inhibitory action of muscarinic receptors was calcium-dependent. The coexistence of receptors for cholinergic, adrenergic and peptidergic agents which can regulate cyclic AMP suggests that the functions of prostatic epithelium may be interdependently controlled by multiple neural effectors.

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