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Brain Res Mol Brain Res. 1999 Jan 8;63(2):254-61.

Alpha1-adrenergic receptors in human spinal cord: specific localized expression of mRNA encoding alpha1-adrenergic receptor subtypes at four distinct levels.

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  • 1Department of Anesthesiology, Duke University Medical Center, Durham, NC 27710, USA.


alpha1-Adrenergic receptors (alpha1ARs) are important in lower urinary tract syndromes such as benign prostatic hypertrophy and bladder irritability. Spinal cord alpha1ARs have been postulated to play a role in modulating these diseases, yet alpha1AR subtype (alpha1a, alpha1b, alpha1d) neuronal localization in human spinal cord has not been described. We therefore tested the hypothesis that alpha1AR subtype distribution varies according to specific spinal cord tract and level. In situ hybridization was performed to identify cell bodies containing alpha1AR subtype mRNA at four levels of human spinal cord (cervical enlargement, thoracic, lumbar, sacral). alpha1AR mRNA is present in ventral gray matter only (ventral>dorsal; sacral>lumbar=thoracic>cervical). Signaling cell bodies were detected in anterior horn motor neurons at all levels; dorsal nucleus of Clarke and intermediolateral columns in cervical enlargement, thoracic and lumbar spinal cord regions; and parasympathetic nucleus in sacral spinal cord. Although all three alpha1AR subtypes are present throughout human spinal cord, alpha1d mRNA predominates overall. If confirmed at a protein level, these findings may contribute to the development of new therapeutic strategies in the treatment of several human diseases.

Copyright 1999 Elsevier Science B.V.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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