Differences between the vasorelaxant activity of adenosine-receptor agonists on guinea-pig isolated aorta precontracted with noradrenaline or phenylephrine

W.R. Ford, H.L. Maddock, R.E. Buckingham, K.J. Broadley

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1 Citation (Scopus)


The relaxant effect of adenosine and 5′‐(N‐ethylcarboxamido)adenosine (NECA) against α‐adrenoceptor‐mediated contractile tone in guinea‐pig isolated aortic rings has been examined to determine if this A2B‐receptor‐mediated relaxation was dependent upon the contracting agent, and whether the contractions were dependent upon intracellular or extracellular calcium.

Relaxation responses were consistently greater for aortic rings pre‐contracted with phenylephrine (3 times 10−6M) than for rings pre‐contracted with noradrenaline (3 times 10−6M). Maximum inhibition by NECA was significantly greater for phenylephrine‐contracted aortae than for noradrenaline‐contracted (81.9 ± 2.8% compared with 25.0 ± 1.5%). These differences persisted in the presence of β‐ and α2‐adrenoceptor blockade and could not, therefore, be attributed to stimulation of these receptors by noradrenaline. The ratio of the contractions obtained before and in the presence of adenosine or NECA was compared with the control ratio obtained before and after vehicle. Experiments were performed both in the presence of normal calcium levels and under calcium‐free conditions. In normal‐calcium medium, NECA inhibited phenylephrine‐induced contractions (test ratio, 76.7 ± 3.9%; control ratio, 133.1 ± 9.8%) to a greater extent than noradrenaline‐induced contractions (108.4 ± 4.1 and 123.4 ± 4.9%); adenosine similarly inhibited phenylephrine‐induced contractions more than those induced by noradrenaline. Under calcium‐free conditions, adenosine (36.7 ± 11.9 and 110.7 ± 26.6%) and NECA (55.2 ± 9.1 and 87.1 ± 14.9%) were only effective against phenylephrine‐induced contractions. This suggests that activation of the A2B‐receptor by these agonists inhibited intracellular mobilization of calcium for phenylephrine‐induced contractions only. The effects on extracellular calcium influx were examined for phenylephrine‐ and noradrenaline‐induced contractions in normal‐calcium medium but in the presence of ryanodine to prevent intracellular calcium mobilization. NECA inhibited phenylephrine‐induced contractions (77.3 ± 12.4 and 111.4 ± 9.3%), presumably by interfering with influx of calcium through receptor‐operated calcium channels. In contrast, NECA failed to reduce noradrenaline‐induced contractions (121.5 ± 10.7 and 122.4 ± 11.6%), suggesting that the effect on noradrenaline is predominantly via interaction with intracellular calcium. Adenosine was consistently a more effective relaxant than NECA, possibly because of an additional intracellular component of the response.

We conclude that adenosine receptor agonists inhibit phenylephrine‐induced contractions of guinea‐pig aorta more selectively than noradrenaline‐induced contractions. A2B‐receptor stimulation might reveal a fundamental difference between the modes of contraction elicited by these two α‐adrenoceptor agonists.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1183-1190
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Pharmacy and Pharmacology
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1999
Externally publishedYes


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