Acute cardiovascular effects of sibutramine in conscious rats

J Pharmacol Exp Ther. 2004 Mar;308(3):1102-10. doi: 10.1124/jpet.103.061259. Epub 2003 Nov 21.


Sibutramine is a serotonin and norepinephrine reuptake inhibitor, used in the treatment of obesity. In this study, cardiovascular effects of sibutramine (0.9, 3, or 9 mg kg(-1) i.p.) were measured in conscious Sprague-Dawley rats, in the absence and presence of beta- and/or alpha-adrenoceptor antagonism (with propranolol and/or phentolamine, respectively). Sibutramine caused pressor and tachycardic effects, with celiac and mesenteric vasoconstrictions, and hyperemic hindquarters vasodilatation. Pretreatment with propranolol inhibited the tachycardic and hindquarters vasodilator effect of sibutramine, whereas phentolamine inhibited the pressor and vasoconstrictor effects of sibutramine. In the presence of phentolamine, sibutramine caused hyperemic mesenteric vasodilatation. In preconstricted, isolated, mesenteric vessels, sibutramine and its metabolites BTS 54505 (N-desmethylsibutramine) and BTS 54354 (N-didesmethylsibutramine) (10 microM) produced significant vasodilations. Neither sibutramine nor BTS 54505 enhanced vessel sensitivity to norepinephrine, whereas BTS 54 354 produced a significant leftward shift in the concentration-response curve to norepinephrine. Collectively, the results indicate that the overt cardiovascular effects of sibutramine involve alpha-adrenoceptor-mediated celiac and mesenteric vasoconstrictions, and beta-adrenoceptor-mediated hindquarters vasodilatation and tachycardia. The mesenteric vasodilator response to sibutramine, seen in the presence of phentolamine, may be a direct effect of the drug and/or its metabolites, on vessel tone. The cardiovascular effects of sibutramine in vivo may be secondary to inhibition of peripheral and/or central reuptake of monoamines by the metabolites BTS 54354 and/or BTS 54505. It remains to explain why BTS 54354, but not BTS 54505, enhanced norepinephrine sensitivity in vitro, because both metabolites are potent inhibitors of the norepinephrine transporter.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Antihypertensive Agents / pharmacology
  • Appetite Depressants / pharmacology*
  • Cardiovascular System / drug effects*
  • Cyclobutanes / pharmacology*
  • Drug Interactions
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Phentolamine / pharmacology
  • Propranolol / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley


  • Antihypertensive Agents
  • Appetite Depressants
  • Cyclobutanes
  • BTS 54 505
  • Propranolol
  • sibutramine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Phentolamine