Nicotine is a nonspecific agonist of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors. We previously demonstrated that nicotine increases the electrical field stimulation (EFS)-evoked contractile responses possibly by facilitating neurotransmitters release from nerve terminals by a mechanism dependent on the influx of Ca2+ from voltage gated Ca2+ channels via activation of nicotinic acetylcholine receptor. The aim of this study is to investigate subtypes of presynaptic nicotinic acetylcholine receptors involved in nicotine induced EFS-evoked contractile response alternation in the rabbit gastric fundus. EFS-evoked contractile responses were recorded from gastric fundus strips obtained from rabbits with isometric force displacement transducers. Effects of nicotine on EFS evoked contractions were examined. Then the effect of nicotine on the EFS-evoked contractions was examined in the presence of hexamethonium, dihydro-p-erythroidine, mecamylamine or alpha-bungarotoxin. In our study, nicotine (10(-4), 3 x 10(-4) M) transiently increased neurogenic contraction induced by EFS in the rabbit isolated gastric fundus. While hexamethonium, dihydro-p-erythroidine and mecamylamine inhibited the neurocontractile response to nicotine on EFS, alpha-bungarotoxin did not alter these responses. The pA(2) values of the antagonists were 4.67 (hexamethonium, n=8), 5.33 (dihydro-beta-erythroidine, n=8) and 5.43 (mecamylamine, n=8). These findings showed that the alpha 3 beta 4 and alpha 4 beta 2 subunits of nicotinic acetylcholine receptors play a role on the nicotine-induced augmentation in EFS-evoked contractile responses in rabbit gastric fundus. (C) 2008 Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.