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Alpha-2 and beta-adrenergic receptors mediate NE's biphasic effects on rat thick ascending limb chloride flux.

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Hypertension and Vascular Research Division, Henry Ford Hospital, 2799 W. Grand Blvd., Detroit, MI 48202, USA.


The sympathetic neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) influences renal sodium excretion via activation of adrenergic receptors. The thick ascending limb (THAL) possesses both alpha-2 and beta-adrenergic receptors. However, the role(s) different adrenergic receptors play in how isolated THALs respond to NE are unclear. We tested the hypothesis that both alpha-2 and beta-adrenergic receptors are responsive to NE in the isolated THAL, with alpha-2 receptors inhibiting and beta-receptors stimulating chloride flux (J(Cl)). THALs from male Sprague-Dawley rats were perfused in vitro, and the effects of 1) incremental NE, 2) the alpha-2 agonist clonidine, and 3) the beta-agonist isoproterenol on J(Cl) were measured. Low concentrations (0.1 nM) of NE decreased J(Cl) from a rate of 114.2 +/- 8.1 to 93.5 +/- 14.6 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1) (P < 0.05), with the nadir occurring at 1 nM (67.7 +/- 8.8 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1); P < 0.05). In contrast, greater concentrations of NE significantly increased J(Cl) from the nadir to a maximal rate of 131.0 +/- 28.5 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1) at 10 microM (P < 0.05). To evaluate the adrenergic receptors mediating these responses, the THAL J(Cl) response to NE was measured in the presence of selective antagonists of beta- and alpha-2 receptors. A concentration of NE (1 microM), which alone tended to increase J(Cl), decreased THAL J(Cl) (from 148.9 +/- 16.4 to 76.2 +/- 13.6 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1); P < 0.01) in the presence of the beta-antagonist propranolol. In contrast, a concentration of NE (0.1 microM), which alone tended to decrease J(Cl), increased THAL J(Cl) (from 85.5 +/- 20.1 to 111.8 +/- 20.1 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1); P < 0.05) in the presence of the alpha-2 antagonist rauwolscine. To further clarify the role of different adrenergic receptors, selective adrenergic agonists were used. The alpha-2 agonist clonidine decreased J(Cl) from 102.4 +/- 9.9 to 54.0 +/- 15.7 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1), a reduction of 49.1 +/- 11.0% (P < 0.02). In contrast, the beta-agonist isoproterenol stimulated J(Cl) from 95.3 +/- 11.6 to 144.1 +/- 15.0 pmol. mm(-1). min(-1), an increase of 56 +/- 14% (P < 0.01). We conclude that 1) the sympathetic neurotransmitter NE exerts concentration-dependent effects on J(Cl) in the isolated rat THAL, 2) selective alpha-2 receptor activation inhibits THAL J(Cl), and 3) selective beta-receptor activation stimulates THAL J(Cl). These data indicate the response elicited by the isolated rat THAL to NE is dependent on the neurotransmitter concentration, such that application of NE in vitro biphasically modulates J(Cl) via differential activation of alpha-2 and beta-adrenergic receptors in a concentration-dependent manner.

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