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Subclassification and Nomenclature of α- and β-Adrenoceptors

[ Vol. 7 , Issue. 2 ]


J. Paul Hieble   Pages 129 - 134 ( 6 )


The subclassification of α- and β-adrenoceptors has resulted in many opportunities for drug discovery. Important adrenoceptor targets include β2-agonists as bronchodilators, β1 or β1/β2 antagonists as antihypertensives, centrally acting α2-agonists for a variety of applications and α1-antagonists for hypertension and benign prostatic hyperplasia. The pharmacology and nomenclature of 9 adrenoceptors is now established, with α1, α2 and β-adrenoceptors being divided into three subtypes each. It is unlikely that additional discrete adrenoceptor sequences will be identified; however the presence of “affinity states” can give rise to tissue specific differences in pharmacology for a specific subtype. Polymorphisms and splice variants of adrenoceptors continue to be identified; in some cases these modifications can affect pharmacological characteristics and could influence the efficacy of adrenoceptor-targeted therapy. Selective antagonists are now available of all 9 adrenoceptor subtypes. Although these will not all have therapeutic application, the availability of improved pharmacologic tools could lead to the identification of new adrenoceptor targets.


Uroselectivity, receptor polymorphism, splice variant, α1L-adrenoceptor, β4-adrenoceptor


Director, Dept of Urogenital Pharmacology, GlaxoSmithKline, 709 Swedeland Road, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania, 19406-0939, USA.

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