Role of the -adrenoceptor in regulating noradrenaline overflow by nerve stimulation

Br J Pharmacol. 1972 Apr;44(4):672-88. doi: 10.1111/j.1476-5381.1972.tb07306.x.


1. A study of the actions of phenoxybenzamine on transmitter overflow, neuronal and extraneuronal uptake of noradrenaline and in causing alpha-adrenoceptor blockade was carried out using the isolated cat nictitating membrane preparation.2. Phenoxybenzamine increased transmitter overflow elicited by nerve-stimulation at 10 Hz in a concentration dependent manner in the range 10(-8) to 10(-5) g/ml.3. Neuronal uptake of [(3)H]-noradrenaline was not inhibited by concentrations lower than 10(-6) g/ml of phenoxybenzamine. With 10(-7) g/ml of phenoxybenzamine a significant increase in transmitter overflow was obtained, although neuronal uptake of noradrenaline was not affected. Higher concentrations of phenoxybenzamine (10(-6) and 10(-5) g/ml) inhibited the neuronal uptake of noradrenaline and further increased transmitter overflow.4. Extraneuronal uptake of [(3)H]-noradrenaline was inhibited only with the highest concentration of phenoxybenzamine tested (10(-5) g/ml) and therefore appears to be unrelated to the effects on transmitter overflow.5. There was a significant correlation between the degree of alpha-adrenoceptor block produced by phenoxybenzamine and the increase in transmitter overflow obtained by nerve stimulation.6. These results indicate that phenoxybenzamine, in addition to increasing overflow by preventing reuptake of noradrenaline, may increase transmitter release.7. The possibility that phenoxybenzamine acts on alpha-adrenoceptors in the adrenergic nerve terminal is discussed. These receptors would be involved in a negative feedback mechanism regulating transmitter release.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Cats
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Feedback
  • Nerve Endings / drug effects
  • Neurons / metabolism
  • Neurons / physiology*
  • Nictitating Membrane / drug effects
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Phenoxybenzamine / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Drug*
  • Stimulation, Chemical
  • Synaptic Transmission
  • Tritium


  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Drug
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Tritium
  • Norepinephrine