Measurement and cardiovascular relevance of partial agonist activity (PAA) involving beta 1- and beta 2-adrenoceptors

Pharmacology & Therapeutics
J M Cruickshank


In the normal heart the ratio of beta 1/beta 2-receptors in both atria and ventricles is about 75:25; in the failing heart the ratio is about 60:40. Stimulation of either beta 1- or beta 2-receptors results in a positive chronotropic and inotropic response. In the periphery, with the exception of lipolysis, renin release, control of intraocular pressure and intestinal relaxation, beta 2-related activity predominates. The nature of the beta 2-receptor is being unravelled and it has now been cloned. The beta-receptor antagonist is 'anchored' via disulfide bonding. Subsequent events involve the regulatory protein guanine nucleotide which couples the receptor to adenylate cyclase. beta-receptor density may by up- or down-regulated. beta-stimulation down-regulates (uncouples and internalizes or sequestrates) and beta-antagonism up-regulates beta-receptor numbers, but the functional implications of such changes are not always clear. A partial agonist occupies a receptor site and competitively inhibits the full agonist (e.g. noradrenaline). A partial agonist differs from a full agonist in that maximal response of a tissue is less. When background sympathetic activity is absent or very low a partial agonist will act as an agonist, e.g....Continue Reading


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