Naunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology

, Volume 338, Issue 5, pp 517–522 | Cite as

Regulation of adrenergic receptor number following chronic noradrenaline infusion in the rabbit

  • N. M. Deighton
  • A. D. Brown
  • C. A. Hamilton
  • J. L. Reid


In order to study noradrenaline-induced regulation of alpha- and beta-adrenoceptors, groups of male New Zealand White rabbits (n = 8) were treated with intravenous noradrenaline (0.09 μmol/kg × h) or ascorbate (0.1 %) for I0 days via osmotic minipumps implanted in the femoral vein, and the number of cardiac, lung and lymphocyte beta-adrenoceptors as well as renal and platelet alpha2-adrenoceptors were determined.
  1. 1.

    The mean arterial blood pressure, heart rate and catecholamine levels were measured before commencing, and after 24 h and 10 days infusion. Circulating noradrenaline concentrations were elevated approximately 6-fold at 24 h and were sustained at these levels after 10 days administration of noradrenaline. There were no significant alterations in the blood pressure while a significant decrease in the heart rate was observed at 24 h.

  2. 2.

    Alpha2-adrenoceptor density was assessed using [3H]-yohimbine. A significant decrease in the number of alpha2-adrenoceptors in the kidney was observed following the 10 days infusion with noradrenaline. This down-regulation was in marked contrast to the lack of alteration in platelet alpha2-adrenoceptor number and the platelet alpha2-adrenoceptor mediated aggregatory response.

  3. 3.

    The density of beta-adrenoceptors in lymphocytes, heart and lung were quantified using (−)[125I] iodocyanopindolol (ICYP). The noradrenaline infusions caused significant reductions in beta-adrenoceptor number in the heart and lung (containing predominantly β1-adrenoceptors) but not in lymphocytes (possessing mainly β2-adrenoceptors). The KD-values (pM) for ICYP binding to heart and lung were also significantly decreased in the present studies.

  4. 4.

    It is concluded that, in this model, a moderate increase in circulating noradrenaline resulted in substantial decreases in alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor number but in a tissue and/or subtype selective manner.


Key words

Noradrenaline infusion Adrenergic receptors Regulation 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1988

Authors and Affiliations

  • N. M. Deighton
    • 1
  • A. D. Brown
    • 1
  • C. A. Hamilton
    • 1
  • J. L. Reid
    • 1
  1. 1.University Department of Materia MedicaGlasgowUnited Kingdom

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