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Br J Pharmacol. 1995 Nov;116(6):2617-24.

Alpha 2C-adrenoceptor-modulated release of noradrenaline in human right atrium.

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Universitätsklinikum Freiburg, Germany.


1. The aim of the present study was to characterize the presynaptic alpha 2-autoreceptors in human right atrium in terms of the alpha 2A-D system. Segments of atrial appendages were preincubated with [3H]-noradrenaline and then superfused in the presence of cocaine and stimulated electrically. pEC30% values of eight alpha-adrenoceptor antagonists with discriminatory power were determined. pEC30% is the negative logarithm of the antagonist concentration that increased the stimulation-induced overflow of tritium by 30%. For four antagonists, the dissociation constant KD was determined, in addition to pEC30%, against the overflow-inhibiting effect of 5-bromo-6-(2-imidazolin-2-ylamino)-quinoxaline (UK 14,304) under autoinhibition-free conditions. 2. pEC30% and KD values yielded identical rank orders of antagonist affinity (rauwolscine > WB 4101 > phentolamine > prazosin) suggesting that both released noradrenaline and the exogenous agonist UK 14,304 activated the same receptor to inhibit release. 3. The eight antagonist pEC30% values obtained in right atrium correlated significantly with their pEC30% values, reported in the literature, at the presynaptic alpha 2C-autoreceptors in human kidney (r = 0.817; slope of the regression line 1.03). No significant correlation was obtained between pEC30% values at atrial autoreceptors and pKD values at previously characterized alpha 2A-autoreceptors in rabbit and alpha 2D-autoreceptors in rat, mouse and guinea-pig tissues. 4. Comparison of antagonist pEC30% values with their pKD values at native alpha 2 binding sites in cells or tissues that express a single subtype only, and with pKD values at alpha 2 binding sites in membranes of COS cells transfected with human alpha 2 subtype genes confirms the alpha 2C character of the atrial autoreceptors: significant correlations were obtained exclusively with the alpha 2C binding sites. 5. Ratios of KD values were computed for alpha 2-autoreceptors in human right atrium and for binding sites in COS cells transfected with human alpha 2 subtype genes. The autoreceptor ratios corresponded well with the respective ratios for the alpha 2C binding sites (maximal three fold deviation) but were, in part, markedly different from ratios calculated for alpha 2A and alpha 2B binding sites (up to 166 fold deviation). This outcome supports the alpha 2C designation of the autoreceptors. 6. In conclusion, the presynaptic alpha 2-autoreceptors in human right atrium are alpha 2C. In this they agree with the previously characterized alpha 2-autoreceptors in human kidney. The alpha 2C classification possibly separates, in general, human alpha 2-autoreceptors from those in lagomorph (rabbit) and rodent (rat, mouse, guinea pig) species that have been proposed to be predominantly alpha 2A or alpha 2D.

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