Evidence for the existence of alpha- and beta-adrenoceptors on cultured glial cells--an electrophysiological study

Neuroscience. 1982;7(11):2867-72. doi: 10.1016/0306-4522(82)90109-9.


The action of adrenergic alpha- and beta-agonists and antagonists has been studied on the membrane potential and resistance of glial cells of cultured rat central nervous system. Noradrenaline and the alpha-adrenoceptor stimulating agents phenylephrine and clonidine (10(-7) to 10(-4)M) depolarized the glial membrane, whereas the beta-agonist isoprenaline caused a hyperpolarization at low concentrations (10(-7) and 10(-6)M). The effects of noradrenaline and phenylephrine were reversibly blocked by the alpha-antagonist phentolamine, whereas those of isoprenaline were antagonized by the beta-blocker atenolol. Atenolol did not affect the depolarization by noradrenaline. The glial depolarization induced by the alpha-agonists was not the consequence of a change in the extracellular K+-concentration unlike that produced by amino acid transmitters. The present results, together with those of biochemical and autoradiographic binding studies, suggest that alpha- and beta-adrenoceptors occur on glial cells and that the glial depolarization is mediated by alpha-receptors, whereas the hyperpolarization is due to activation of beta-receptors.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Astrocytes / analysis*
  • Astrocytes / metabolism
  • Clonidine / pharmacology
  • Culture Techniques
  • Electrophysiology
  • Isoproterenol / pharmacology
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Phenylephrine / pharmacology
  • Potassium / metabolism
  • Rats
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / analysis*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic / anatomy & histology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / analysis*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / anatomy & histology*


  • Receptors, Adrenergic
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Phenylephrine
  • Isoproterenol
  • Clonidine
  • Potassium
  • Norepinephrine