Functional characterization of alpha-adrenoceptors mediating pupillary dilation in rats

Yongxin Yu, Michael C Koss

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Previously, we reported that the alpha(1A)-adrenoceptor, but not the alpha(1D)-adrenoceptor, mediates pupillary dilation elicited by sympathetic nerve stimulation in rats. This study was undertaken to further characterize the alpha-adrenoceptor subtypes mediating pupillary dilation in response to both neural and agonist activation. Pupillary dilator response curves were generated by intravenous injection of norepinephrine in pentobarbital-anesthetized rats. Involvement of alpha(1)-adrenoceptors was established as mydriatic responses were inhibited by systemic administration of nonselective alpha-adrenoceptor antagonists, phentolamine (0.3-3 mg/kg) and phenoxybenzamine (0.03-0.3 mg/kg), as well as by the selective alpha(1)-adrenoceptor antagonist, prazosin (0.3 mg/kg). The alpha(2)-adrenoceptor antagonist, rauwolscine (0.5 mg/kg), was without antagonistic effects. alpha(1A)-Adrenoceptor selective antagonists, 2-([2,6-dimethoxyphenoxyethyl]aminomethyl)-1,4-benzodioxane (WB-4101; 0.1-1 mg/kg) and 5-methylurapidil (0.1-1 mg/kg), the alpha(1B)-adrenoceptor selective antagonist, 4-amino-2-[4-[1-(benzyloxycarbonyl)-2(S)- [[(1,1-dimethylethyl)amino]carbonyl]-piperazinyl]-6,7-dimethoxyquinazoline (L-765314; 0.3-1 mg/kg), as well as the alpha(1D)-adrenoceptor selective antagonist, 8-[2-[4-(2-methoxyphenyl)-1-piperazinyl]ethyl]-8-azaspiro[4.5]decane-7,9-dione (BMY-7378; 1 mg/kg), were used to delineate the adrenoceptor subtypes involved. Mydriatic responses to norepinephrine were significantly antagonized by intravenous administration of both WB-4101 and 5-methylurapidil, but neither by L-765314 nor by BMY-7378. L-765314 (0.3-3 mg/kg, i.v.) was also ineffective in inhibiting the mydriasis evoked by cervical sympathetic nerve stimulation. These results suggest that alpha(1B)-adrenoceptors do not mediate sympathetic mydriasis in rats, and that the alpha(1A)-adrenoceptor is the exclusive subtype mediating mydriatic responses in this species.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)135-40
Number of pages6
JournalEuropean Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 20 Jun 2003


  • Adrenergic Fibers
  • Adrenergic alpha-Antagonists
  • Animals
  • Dioxanes
  • Dose-Response Relationship, Drug
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Injections, Intravenous
  • Male
  • Mydriasis
  • Norepinephrine
  • Phenoxybenzamine
  • Phentolamine
  • Piperazines
  • Prazosin
  • Pupil
  • Rats
  • Rats, Sprague-Dawley
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, alpha-1
  • Yohimbine


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