Evidence for two distinct types of postsynaptic alpha-adrenoceptor in vascular smooth muscle in vivo

British Journal of Pharmacology
G M Drew, S B Whiting


1 The effects of the highly selective alpha(1)-adrenoceptor antagonist, prazosin, and the relatively selective alpha(2)-adrenoceptor antagonist, yohimbine, on the pressor responses to intravenous injections of phenylephrine and noradrenaline have been examined in anaesthetized cats and pithed rats in an attempt to determine whether alpha(1)- and alpha(2)-adrenoceptors are located postsynaptically on vascular smooth muscle.2 In anaesthetized cats prazosin caused a much greater reduction in the pressor responses to phenylephrine than to noradrenaline or splanchnic nerve stimulation (after adrenalectomy). Yohimbine was of similar potency in reducing the pressor responses to each stimulus.3 A differential blocking activity of prazosin against intra-arterial injections of phenylephrine and noradrenaline was also demonstrated in the blood-perfused cat hind limb. As in the whole animal, prazosin was more potent against phenylephrine than noradrenaline. A similar, though less marked, effect was seen in the mesenteric circulation, but not in the renal circulation, where prazosin was almost equipotent in reducing responses to phenylephrine and noradrenaline.4 In pithed rats prazosin was a potent, competitive antagonist of phenylephrine, ...Continue Reading


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