Evidence for saturation of catechol-O-methyltransferase by low concentrations of noradrenaline in perfused lungs of rats

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 1995 Apr;351(4):408-16. doi: 10.1007/BF00169082.


Previous studies on the pulmonary removal and metabolism of catecholamines in rat lungs have shown that, when the lungs are perfused with a low concentration (1 nmol/l) of noradrenaline, the amine is metabolized by catechol-O-methyltransferase (COMT) and monoamine oxidase (MAO), but is predominantly O-methylated, and the activities of COMT and MAO are 0.357 min-1 and 0.186 min-1, respectively. The aim of the present study was to examine the changes in the metabolic profile of noradrenaline in rat lungs over a range of concentrations, and to examine the kinetics of the pulmonary O-methylation of noradrenaline and adrenaline. In isolated lungs perfused with 3H-noradrenaline, there was a progressive decrease in the proportion of O-methylated metabolites and a corresponding increase in the proportion of deaminated metabolites, as the noradrenaline concentration in the perfusion solution was increased from 1 to 10 to 100 to 1000 nmol/l. Experiments designed to determine the rate of uptake of noradrenaline in lungs perfused with 1 nmol/l 3H-noradrenaline, under conditions of MAO inhibited, COMT inhibited and COMT and MAO inhibited, showed that the results were compatible with co-existence of COMT and MAO in the pulmonary endothelial cells. Hence, it appeared that the changing metabolic profile with amine concentration in the previous series of experiments was not due to saturation of noradrenaline uptake into cells that contained COMT but not MAO.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / metabolism*
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase / pharmacology
  • Epinephrine / metabolism
  • In Vitro Techniques
  • Kinetics
  • Lung / drug effects
  • Lung / enzymology*
  • Male
  • Methylation
  • Monoamine Oxidase / metabolism
  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Norepinephrine / metabolism*
  • Perfusion
  • Rats
  • Rats, Wistar


  • Monoamine Oxidase Inhibitors
  • Monoamine Oxidase
  • Catechol O-Methyltransferase
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine