Catecholamines-crafty weapons in the inflammatory arsenal of immune/inflammatory cells or opening pandora's box?

Mol Med. Mar-Apr 2008;14(3-4):195-204. doi: 10.2119/2007-00105.Flierl.


It is well established that catecholamines (CAs), which regulate immune and inflammatory responses, derive from the adrenal medulla and from presynaptic neurons. Recent studies reveal that T cells also can synthesize and release catecholamines which then can regulate T cell function. We have shown recently that macrophages and neutrophils, when stimulated, can generate and release catecholamines de novo which, then, in an autocrine/paracrine manner, regulate mediator release from these phagocytes via engagement of adrenergic receptors. Moreover, regulation of catecholamine-generating enzymes as well as degrading enzymes clearly alter the inflammatory response of phagocytes, such as the release of proinflammatory mediators. Accordingly, it appears that phagocytic cells and lymphocytes may represent a major, newly recognized source of catecholamines that regulate inflammatory responses.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catecholamines / chemistry
  • Catecholamines / metabolism*
  • Humans
  • Immune System / physiology
  • Inflammation / immunology*
  • Molecular Structure
  • Phagocytes / metabolism
  • T-Lymphocytes / metabolism


  • Catecholamines