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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1995 Oct;26(4):584-9.

Effects of chronic norepinephrine administration on cardiac function in rats.

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Department of Physiology and Pharmacology, University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, Scotland.


We assessed the changes in the contractile response of rat hearts in vivo after chronic exposure to a range of doses of norepinephrine (NE) and determined whether free radical production played a role in these changes. Osmotic minipumps were implanted subcutaneously (s.c.) in male rats and delivered either NE (0.15-0.35 mg/kg/h) or acid saline for 10-28 days. The animals were then anaesthetised and prepared for haemodynamic measurement, and dose-response curves to acutely administered NE and calcium chloride were constructed. We analysed plasma for evidence of free radical activity by measuring the levels of thiobarbituric acid-reactive substances (TBARS). All doses of NE studied produced left, but not right, ventricular hypertrophy. Treatment with 0.25 mg/kg/h NE for 28 days produced signs of distress and, by 10 days, treatment with 0.35 mg/kg/h resulted in 33% mortality. Treatment with the two lower doses, but not the highest dose, of NE resulted in increases in basal left ventricular (LV) maximum rate of pressure generation and a marked increase in systolic, but not diastolic, arterial blood pressure (SBP, DBP). All doses of NE caused reduced responses to acutely administered NE but no marked change in the response to calcium chloride. Levels of plasma free radicals were increased only with the highest dose of NE. Over the concentration range studied, chronic administration of NE to rats causes beta-adrenoceptor downregulation and free radical production was associated only with the administration of a dose of NE that resulted in high mortality.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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