Influence of α-adrenergic blockade on platelet-mediated thrombosis in stenosed canine coronary arteries

Roberto Bolli, Tedd A. Brandon, Myles L. Mace, Donald G. Weilbaecher

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13 Scopus citations


Summary: The functional significance of platelet α-adrenergic receptors in vivo is uncertain. The aim of this study was to elucidate their role in experimental coronary thrombosis. In 46 open-chest dogs with a critical coronary stenosis produced by plicating the coronary artery wall with a suture, blood flow showed cyclical reductions followed by an abrupt return to control levels. The flow reductions were previously shown to be caused by platelet aggregation. In the present study they were unaffected by heparin (1,000 U·kg-1·h-1) at the start of the experiment but consistently abolished by aspirin (30 mg·kg-1) at the end of the protocol, further supporting platelet aggregation as the primary mechanism.After 1 h of observation, dogs were assigned to one of the following groups: control (no intervention, n=9), phentolamine (a nonselective α-blocker) "low dose" (0.07 mg·kg-1 bolus followed by 0.1 mg·kg-1·min-1, n=4), phentolamine "high dose" (3 mg·kg-1 bolus followed by 0.07 mg·kg-1·min-1, n=6), prazosin (an α1-blocker, 2 mg·kg-1, n=8), yohimbine (an α2-blocker, 3 mg·kg-1, n= 11) or prazosin + yohimbine (same doses, n=8). In controls, cyclical reductions in flow continued unchanged for another hour. Phentolamine effected a partial dose-related inhibition of flow reductions; however, prazosin and yohimbine, given separately or in combination, failed to produce any significant effect despite an α-blocking action equivalent to or greater than that of phentolamine (α-agonist dose-response studies). Thus, α1-, α2- and combined α1- and α2-blockade, per se, did not interfere with coronary thrombosis in the face of elevated plasma levels of adrenaline and noradrenaline (285 ± 48 and 399 ± 31 ng·litre-1, respectively). It is concluded that, in the dog, α-adrenoceptors do not contribute significantly to spontaneous formation of platelet coronary thrombi even at moderately increased levels of adrenergic stimulation. In addition, this study identifies an in vivo platelet-inhibitory activity of phentolamine that is independent of α-adrenergic blockade.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)146-154
Number of pages9
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 1985
Externally publishedYes


  • α-adrenergic blockers
  • α-adrenergic receptors
  • Arterial thrombosis
  • Coronary artery stenosis
  • Coronary blood flow
  • Phentolamine
  • Platelets
  • Prazosin
  • Yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Statistics, Probability and Uncertainty
  • Applied Mathematics
  • Physiology (medical)
  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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