Evidence for down-regulation of beta-2-adrenoceptors in cirrhotic patients with severe ascites

Lancet. 1986 Jun 21;1(8495):1409-11. doi: 10.1016/s0140-6736(86)91556-4.


The density and affinity of beta-2-adrenoceptors on mononuclear cells from peripheral blood were studied in fifteen patients with cirrhosis of different severity and in thirteen controls. There was no significant difference between cirrhotic patients and controls in density or affinity of beta-2 binding sites. Within the cirrhotic group, however, the number of binding sites per cell was significantly lower in patients with severe ascites than in patients with mild to moderate or no ascites. This down-regulation of beta-adrenoceptors could influence the haemodynamic response to beta-blockers.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Ascites / etiology
  • Female
  • Hemodynamics / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Liver Cirrhosis / metabolism*
  • Liver Cirrhosis / physiopathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / analysis*


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta