Characterization of alpha-adrenoceptor gene expression in arterial and venous smooth muscle

Am J Physiol. 1993 Nov;265(5 Pt 2):H1501-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.1993.265.5.H1501.


Six genes coding for three unique alpha 1- (1A, 1B, 1C) and three unique alpha 2- (2A, 2B, 2C) adrenergic receptor (AR) subtypes have been cloned. Ligand binding and contractile studies have demonstrated that both alpha 1- and alpha 2-ARs can exist on vascular smooth muscle (VSM) cells, although less is known about the relative distribution and specific subtypes in different vascular segments. In the present study polymerase chain reaction (PCR) analysis was used to characterize the species of alpha-AR messenger RNA (mRNA) present in freshly isolated rat thoracic aortic media and vena cava and in cultured VSM cells (passage 2) derived from both sources. To prevent possible contamination of VSM mRNA, aortic media was separated from adventitia, and vessels were denuded of endothelial cells. Oligonucleotide primers specific for each of the six adrenergic genes were synthesized and used to probe for the presence of alpha-AR mRNA species after reverse transcription of total cellular RNA to cDNA. PCR-amplified AR transcripts were distinguished by the size of amplified DNA fragments and unique restriction endonuclease cleavage. Expression of alpha 1C- or alpha 2C-mRNA was not detected in vascular tissues or cultured VSM cells, although the alpha 2C-primers detected the expected alpha 2C expression in cerebral cortex. Only alpha 1A-mRNA was detected in aortic adventitia. VSM from aorta expressed alpha 1A-, alpha 1B-, and alpha 2A-mRNA, and this pattern was preserved in cultured aortic VSM. Vena cava also expressed both alpha 1A and alpha 1B; however only alpha 2B-mRNA was detected.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Comparative Study
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Aorta, Thoracic / metabolism*
  • Base Sequence
  • Cells, Cultured
  • Cerebral Cortex / metabolism
  • DNA Primers
  • Gene Expression*
  • Kidney / metabolism
  • Liver / metabolism
  • Molecular Sequence Data
  • Muscle, Smooth, Vascular / metabolism*
  • Organ Specificity
  • Polymerase Chain Reaction
  • RNA, Messenger / analysis
  • RNA, Messenger / biosynthesis*
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1 / biosynthesis*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-2 / biosynthesis*
  • Transcription, Genetic
  • Vena Cava, Inferior / metabolism*


  • DNA Primers
  • RNA, Messenger
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-2