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Eur J Clin Invest. 1988 Dec;18(6):587-94.

Alpha 2-antagonist compounds and lipid mobilization: evidence for a lipid mobilizing effect of oral yohimbine in healthy male volunteers.

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Laboratoire de Pharmacologie Clinique et Médicale, Université Paul Sabatier, Toulouse, France.


Investigations were carried out to analyse the interactions of alpha 2-antagonists (yohimbine, idazoxan, SK & F-86,466) with human fat cell alpha 2-adrenoceptors. All the alpha 2-antagonists enhanced the lipolytic potencies of epinephrine with an order of potency: yohimbine greater than idazoxan greater than SK & F-86,466; the same order was also found in 3H-yohimbine competition studies on human fat cell membranes. The most potent agent, yohimbine, was administered orally in humans to define the conditions of appearance and the time-course of a putative lipid-mobilizing action. Oral yohimbine administration (0.2 mg kg-1) elevated plasma glycerol and non-esterified fatty acids in fasting healthy subjects without significant action on heart rate or blood pressure during the time-course of the experiment. The lipid-mobilizing action of yohimbine was reinforced during physical exercise, completely suppressed after a meal and partially blocked by administration of propranolol (0.5 mg kg-1; 60 min before yohimbine). Plasma norepinephrine concentrations were increased (40-50%) after oral yohimbine administration. The rise in plasma catecholamine concentration elicited by yohimbine was not modified by propranolol treatment. The lipid-mobilizing effect of yohimbine could be attributable to: (i) the increase in synaptic norepinephrine with a resultant increment in lipolysis by beta-adrenergic agonism; (ii) a decrease in alpha 2-adrenoceptor stimulation of human fat cell alpha 2-adrenoceptors; (iii) a blockade of presynaptic alpha 2-adrenoceptors. The use of highly selective alpha 2-antagonists will allow investigations into alpha 2-adrenoceptors, which may represent a novel locus for pharmacological intervention in lipid-mobilization strategies.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS).

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