Postsynaptic α1- and α2-adrenergic mechanisms in coronary vasoconstriction

Da Guang Chen, Xue Zheng Dai, Ben G. Zimmerman, Robert J Bache

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46 Scopus citations


This study examined the relative importance of postsynaptic α1- and α2-adrenoceptors in mediating coronary vasoconstriction in open chest dogs in which the left circumflex coronary artery was cannulated and perfused at a constant rate. The cervical vagus nerves and central connections of the stellate ganglia were transsected, and β-adrenergic blockade was produced with propranolol. Coronary vasoconstriction occurred in response to intraarterial administration of both the α1-agonist phenylephrine and the α2-agonist BHT 933. The response to phenylephrine was partially blocked with prazosin and nearly completely eliminated by yohimbine. The response to BHT 933 was resistant to prazosin, but almost completely blocked by yohimbine. Coronary vasoconstriction produced by norepinephrine was resistant to prazosin, but was blunted by α2-adrenergic blockade with yohimbine or idazoxan. Prazosin produced some blunting of coronary vasoconstriction in response to small doses of epinephrine, while yohimbine markedly attenuated epinephrine-induced vasoconstriction at all doses used. Measurements of regional myocardial blood flow with radioactive microspheres demonstrated no transmural redistribution of perfusion during vasoconstriction produced by either α1- or α2 stimulation. Thus, although stimulation of both α1- and α2-adrenoceptors is capable of causing coronary vasoconstriction, vasoconstriction in response to norepinephrine and epinephrine is mediated principally by postsynaptic α2-adrenoceptors.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)61-67
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Coronary alpha-adrenoceptors
  • Epinephrine
  • Myocardial blood flow
  • Norepinephrine
  • Prazosin
  • Yohimbine


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