Letter | Published:

Interchange of adenyl and guanyl cyclases as an explanation for transformation of β- to α-adrenergic responses in the rat atrium

Abstract

STUDIES have indicated that the response of the heart1–5, and possibly other tissues6, to exogenous catecholamines changes from β-type to α-type in conditions of decreased metabolic activity, including lowering the temperature. Attempts to correlate this with changes in cyclic AMP metabolism which are thought to reflect β-adrenoceptor activity were unsuccessful7,8. We have therefore studied the effects of lowering the temperature on the intracellular levels of both cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP in the spontaneously beating rat atrium. Cyclic GMP concentrations seem to mediate α-adrenergic responses in a variety of systems9–12, and we therefore investigated whether its levels increased in conditions of increased α-adrenoceptor activity. Our results indicate that the same receptors that stimulate cyclic AMP synthesis at 37 °C, trigger the synthesis of cyclic GMP at a colder temperature (24 °C).

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