Comparative assessment of stimuli that release neuronal and adrenomedullary catecholamines in man

Circulation
D RobertsonJ A Oates

Abstract

We assessed the release of neuronal and adrenomedullary catecholamines in response to various stimuli of the sympathetic nervous system in normal subjects. Plasma catecholamines and their urinary metabolites, normetanephrine and metanephrine, were measured. Sodium restriction increased supine plasma norepinephrine by 37% and ambulatory plasma norepinephrine by 22%, with urinary normetanephrine excretion increased 29%. The sodium restriction did not elevate plasma epinephrine or urinary metanephrine. The most potent stimuli of norepinephrine were treadmill exercise, orthostasis, caffeine, the cold pressor test, sodium restriction and handgrip exercise, in descending order. Plasma epinephrine was increased by caffeine, treadmill exercise, the cold pressor test, handgrip exercise and the Valsalva maneuver, in that order. Syncope resulted in profound changes in plasma epinephrine but only modest changes in plasma norepinephrine. We conclude that in man, there is frequent dissociation between the effects of different stimuli on neuronal and adrenomedullary catecholamine release.

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