Norepinephrine sensitivity and desensitization of cultured single vascular muscle cells.
Isolated single vascular muscle cells were used for studies of the inherent norepinephrine sensitivity and the conditions important for detecting highest norepinephrine sensitivity. Rat vascular muscle cell contractions were quantitated from spontaneous contractions during pulse applications of the drugs, with a time course designed to simulate norepinephrine release in situ. Isolated vascular muscle cells showed a sensitivity to norepinephrine two orders of magnitude greater than those found from isolated intact blood vessels. Associated with the high sensitivity, there was a marked reduction in the response to a second application of norepinephrine or phenylephrine. The reduced second response appears to result from desensitization that is more pronounced in cells that have been exposed to only trace concentrations of catecholamines. These data appear to suggest that there might be continuous suppression of transmitter sensitivity that occurs as a result of transmitter exposure, and possibly cell-to-cell associations. Desensitization would at first severely limit the response to norepinephrine by reducing or eliminating the response to prolonged exposure or a second dose. Thereafter, a lessening of the desensitization process on continuous exposure to catecholamines would be the result, in part, of lowered sensitivity and, in part, of a smaller desensitization response. This process would continuously modulate norepinephrine sensitivity, based on the frequency and extent of stimulation, and we have called it the theory of physiological desensitization.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association