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Am J Physiol. 1992 Mar;262(3 Pt 2):R407-11.

Preoptic norepinephrine-induced hypothermia is mediated by alpha 2-adrenoceptors.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and Biophysics, University of Tennessee, Memphis 38163.


We have shown previously that norepinephrine (NE) microdialyzed into the preoptic area of conscious guinea pigs evokes a fall in core temperature (Tco) that is mediated by a reduction in metabolic rate. To identify the adrenoceptor subtype(s) involved in this effect, we microdialyzed intrapreoptically various adrenergic agonists or antagonists singly or in combinations. Tco and ear skin temperatures of the animals were monitored throughout the experiments. alpha 1-, beta-, beta 1-, and beta 2-agonists and antagonists did not induce significant Tco changes. Although the alpha 2-antagonists yohimbine (Yoh) and rauwolscine (Rau) did not have thermal effects per se, the alpha 2-agonist clonidine evoked dose-dependent Tco falls that were abolished by codialyzed Yoh and Rau. The microdialysis of NE evoked, as before, a 0.7 +/- 0.2 degrees C Tco fall; it was abolished by the codialyzed alpha-antagonist phentolamine, Yoh, and Rau but not by the beta-antagonist propranolol. No adrenoceptor agonist induced changes in ear skin temperature. These results indicate that the hypothermizing effect of intrapreoptically microdialyzed NE is achieved by a reduction in metabolic heat production, mediated by alpha 2-adrenoceptors.

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