Expression and in-vivo modulation of alpha- and beta-adrenoceptors on human natural killer (CD16+) cells

J Neuroimmunol. 1997 Apr;74(1-2):159-64. doi: 10.1016/s0165-5728(96)00221-4.


Expression and in-vivo modulation of beta- and alpha-adrenoceptors on peripheral human natural killer (CD16+) cells was investigated. Ligand binding studies revealed that CD16+ lymphocytes express beta2, alpha1-, alpha2- but not beta1-adrenoceptors. Infusion of adrenaline, but not noradrenaline, significantly decreased beta2- and alpha1-adrenoceptor numbers on NK cells. Both catecholamines did not appreciably alter alpha2-adrenoceptor numbers. Additional analyses showed that adrenaline administration increases alpha2-adrenoceptor numbers on peripheral mononuclear blood cells (PBMC) and T-cell subsets (CD4+, CD8+) in contrast to decreased receptor numbers on CD16+ cells. These data demonstrate a specific effect of increasing levels of circulating catecholamines on beta2-adrenoceptors on NK cells.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic Agonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Adult
  • CD4 Antigens / analysis
  • CD8 Antigens / analysis
  • Epinephrine / pharmacology
  • Humans
  • Killer Cells, Natural / drug effects
  • Killer Cells, Natural / immunology
  • Killer Cells, Natural / metabolism*
  • Male
  • Monocytes / drug effects
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Norepinephrine / pharmacology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha / metabolism*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / metabolism*
  • Receptors, IgG / analysis
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / drug effects
  • T-Lymphocyte Subsets / metabolism


  • Adrenergic Agonists
  • Adrenergic alpha-Agonists
  • CD4 Antigens
  • CD8 Antigens
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Receptors, IgG
  • Norepinephrine
  • Epinephrine