Send to

Choose Destination
Nature. 1999 Nov 11;402(6758):181-4.

Two functionally distinct alpha2-adrenergic receptors regulate sympathetic neurotransmission.

Author information

Department of Pharmacology and Toxicology, University of Würzburg, Germany.


The sympathetic nervous system regulates cardiovascular function by activating adrenergic receptors in the heart, blood vessels and kidney. Alpha2-adrenergic receptors are known to have a critical role in regulating neurotransmitter release from sympathetic nerves and from adrenergic neurons in the central nervous system; however, the individual roles of the three highly homologous alpha2-adrenergic-receptor subtypes (alpha2A, alpha2B, alpha2C) in this process are not known. We have now studied neurotransmitter release in mice in which the genes encoding the three alpha2-adrenergic-receptor subtypes were disrupted. Here we show that both the alpha2A- and alpha2C-subtypes are required for normal presynaptic control of transmitter release from sympathetic nerves in the heart and from central noradrenergic neurons. Alpha2A-adrenergic receptors inhibit transmitter release at high stimulation frequencies, whereas the alpha2C-subtype modulates neurotransmission at lower levels of nerve activity. Both low- and high-frequency regulation seem to be physiologically important, as mice lacking both alpha2A- and alpha2C-receptor subtypes have elevated plasma noradrenaline concentrations and develop cardiac hypertrophy with decreased left ventricular contractility by four months of age.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Nature Publishing Group
Loading ...
Support Center