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Saturday 01 January 2000

The role of beta-adrenergic receptors in the cutaneous water evaporation mechanism in the heat-acclimated pigeon (Columba livia).

By: Ophir E, Arieli Y, Raber P, Marder J.

Comp Biochem Physiol A Mol Integr Physiol 2000 Jan;125(1):63-74

The effects of selective and non-selective beta-adrenergic agents on cutaneous water evaporation (CWE) were studied in hand-reared rock pigeons (Columba livia). CWE was measured by the vapor diffusive resistance method, using a transient porometer. Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections of a non-selective beta-adrenergic antagonist (propranolol) or a selective beta(2)-adrenergic antagonist (ICI-118551) to heat-acclimated (HAc) pigeons at ambient temperature (T(a)) of 24 degrees C resulted in intensive CWE. The CWE values that were triggered by propranolol and ICI-118551 (18.59+/-0.73 and 16.48+/-0.70 mg cm(-2) h(-1), respectively) were close to those induced by heat exposure (17.62+/-1.40 mg cm(-2) h(-1)). Subcutaneous administration of propranolol produced local response. Intramuscular injection of salbutamol (selective beta(2)-adrenergic agonist) to HAc pigeons drastically diminished CWE induced by either propranolol, metoprolol or heat exposure. Such manipulations also enhanced panting at relatively low T(a)s (42 degrees C). The inhibition of beta(1)-adrenergic receptors by metoprolol increased CWE, while inhibition by atenolol produced no change from basal values. This difference may be attributed to their distinctive nature in penetrating the blood-brain barrier. Our findings indicate a regulatory pathway for CWE consisting of both beta(1)- and beta(2)-adrenergic receptors. We suggest that the beta(1)-adrenergic effect is restricted mainly to the CNS, while the beta(2)-adrenergic effect takes place at the effector level. We postulate this level to be either the cutaneous microvasculature or the epidermal layer.

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