Alpha 2-adrenoceptors mediate clonidine-induced sedation in the rat

Br J Pharmacol. 1979 Sep;67(1):133-41.


1 The central alpha-adrenoceptors responsible for mediating clonidine-induced sedation in rats have been characterized according to their sensitivity to alpha-adrenoceptor agonists and antagonists.2 Clonidine, injected intraperitoneally or intracerebroventricularly, caused dose-dependent sedation, both in terms of a reduction in the time that rats could remain on an accelerating rotarod and in terms of overt sedation assessed visually. Following intracerebroventricular injection, xylazine, naphazoline and methoxamine, but not phenylephrine, produced similar effects.3 The sedation caused by intraperitoneal injection of clonidine was antagonized by intracerebroventricularly injected phentolamine, yohimbine, piperoxan and tolazoline but not by labetalol, thymoxamine or prazosin.4 The relative potencies of the agonists in causing sedation and of the antagonists in inhibiting the sedative effect of clonidine clearly demonstrated that the central alpha-adrenoceptors mediating clonidine-induced sedation are the same as the peripheral presynaptic alpha(2)-adrenoceptors.5 All the alpha-adrenoceptor agonists caused hypothermia after intracerebroventricular injection, but their order of potency was different from that in producing sedation. The hypothermic effect of intraperitoneally injected clonidine was little affected by any of the antagonists administered intracerebroventricularly. No conclusions could be drawn concerning the type of receptor responsible for mediating hypothermia.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / administration & dosage
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Body Temperature / drug effects
  • Clonidine / administration & dosage
  • Clonidine / pharmacology*
  • Hydralazine / pharmacology
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives*
  • Injections, Intraventricular
  • Male
  • Postural Balance / drug effects
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / physiology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology*


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Hypnotics and Sedatives
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Hydralazine
  • Clonidine