Interference of calcium entry blockade in vivo with pressor responses to alpha-adrenergic stimulation: effects of two unrelated blockers on responses to both exogenous and endogenously released norepinephrine

Circulation. 1984 Jun;69(6):1171-6. doi: 10.1161/01.cir.69.6.1171.


To the extent that calcium availability is the final common mediator of vasoconstrictor responses, calcium entry blockade might interfere with physiologic responses to adrenergic stimulation. To test this hypothesis, we studied the effects of calcium entry blockade on pressor responses to norepinephrine in pithed, normal Sprague-Dawley rats in two different ways: (1) by evaluating the effects on pressor responsiveness to exogenous norepinephrine during differential blockade of alpha 1-(prazosin, 0.3 mg/kg) and of alpha 2-receptors (yohimbine, 0.3 mg/kg) and (2) by comparing the effects of calcium entry blockade with those of prazosin and those of rauwolscine (a specific alpha 2-antagonist) on pressor responses to infusions of both endogenously released norepinephrine (electrical stimulation of the pithing rod) and exogenous norepinephrine. In the presence of alpha 1-blockade, both nitrendipine (0.01 mg/kg) and verapamil (0.6 mg/kg) shifted the norepinephrine pressor dose-response curve to the right but were ineffective in alpha 2-blocked animals. Furthermore, nitrendipine (range 0.01 to 0.3 mg/kg) proved to be more effective (p less than .001) against exogenous norepinephrine than against electrical stimulation of the spinal cord, a behavior opposite that of selective alpha 1-blockade (prazosin) and directionally comparable to that of selective alpha 2-antagonism (rauwolscine). These data indicate that calcium entry blockade in vivo preferentially antagonizes the alpha 2-pressor component of exogenous norepinephrine. In addition, both calcium entry blockers were consistently more active (p less than .01) than rauwolscine (0.01 to 1 mg/kg) in antagonizing the pressor response to neural stimulation, suggesting that mechanisms different from "classical" alpha 2-antagonism may also contribute to the overall effect of calcium entry blockade on the adrenergic control of peripheral vascular tone.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / physiology*
  • Animals
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Female
  • Nifedipine / analogs & derivatives
  • Nifedipine / pharmacology
  • Nitrendipine
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Prazosin / pharmacology
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Vasoconstriction / drug effects
  • Verapamil / pharmacology
  • Yohimbine / pharmacology


  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Yohimbine
  • Nitrendipine
  • Verapamil
  • Nifedipine
  • Norepinephrine
  • Prazosin