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Neuroscience. 1983 Nov;10(3):987-96.

Catecholamine uptake into isolated adrenal chromaffin cells: inhibition of uptake by acetylcholine.


We have investigated the process of catecholamine uptake in guinea-pig chromaffin cells. Isolated guinea-pig chromaffin cells accumulate [3H]norepinephrine and [3H]epinephrine by a saturable transport system. Catecholamine uptake is dependent upon temperature, energy, and extracellular Na+. The apparent KmS for norepinephrine and epinephrine transport are approximately 1 and 3.5 microM, respectively; the transport maximum (Vmax) for both compounds is about 100 pmol/min/mg protein. The uptake of norepinephrine into chromaffin cells is inhibited by imipramine (Ki = 50 nM) and by desmethylimipramine (IC50 = 20 nM). In both its substrate specificity and its sensitivity to pharmacological inhibition, the catecholamine uptake system in chromaffin cells is similar to the catecholamine transport system previously described in sympathetic neurons. Decreasing external Na+ from 130 to 19 mM increases the apparent Km for norepinephrine to 2.8 microM. Decreasing external norepinephrine increases the Na+ concentration required for half-maximal transport. Agents that depolarize chromaffin cells, such as acetylcholine and veratridine, significantly inhibit [3H]norepinephrine uptake. This decrease in uptake is due to an increase in the apparent Km for norepinephrine. The inhibition of [3H]norepinephrine uptake by depolarizing agents cannot be accounted for by the preferential release of newly-accumulated [3H]norepinephrine, or by the competitive inhibition of [3H]norepinephrine uptake by secreted catecholamines. The inhibition of catecholamine uptake by depolarizing agents suggests that the transport system may be regulated by the membrane potential. Norepinephrine and epinephrine that are spontaneously released from the adrenal medulla may be recaptured in vivo. The inhibition of transport by acetylcholine may prevent the re-uptake of catecholamine released during the physiological stimulation of secretion.

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