1. Rats implanted with osmotic minipumps delivering adrenaline intraperitoneally at the rate of 2.9 nmol/h had significantly higher systolic and diastolic pressures from days 2 to 6 after implantation than sham-operated control rats.
2. Concomitant treatment with metoprolol tartrate (2.5 mg/kg, intraperitoneally, twice daily) prevented the elevation in blood pressure induced by adrenaline from osmotic minipumps. Such metoprolol treatment did not affect the blood pressure of control rats.
3. Noradrenaline administered intraperitoneally from osmotic minipumps at the rate of 2.9 nmol/h had no significant effect on blood pressure over a 6-day period of observation.
4. Tachyphylaxis developed to the acute pressor responses to intermittent intravenous infusions of adrenaline in doses of 0.78 μg (4.24 nmol) every 10 min, but after 14 days of such treatment systolic and diastolic blood pressures were significantly greater than in control rats.
5. It is suggested that the increase in blood pressure produced by chronic treatment with adrenaline is due to the uptake and accumulation of adrenaline in noradrenergic nerve terminals, from which it is subsequently released as a cotransmitter that mediates a positive feedback loop on, transmission by acting on prejunctional β-adrenoceptors.