Ample experimental evidence supports the existence of two distinct types of vasoconstrictor α-adrenoceptors in vascular smooth muscle at postjunctional sites, showing similarities with α1 and α2-adrenoceptors. Especially in vivo, the characterization of an α2-adrenoceptor mediating an increase in diastolic pressure has been most successful. In this respect the model of the pithed rat has been employed most frequently (for reviews see [1, 2]).

At present, the agents cirazoline, (−) phenylephrine, (±)-erythro-methoxamine, (−)-amidephrine, SKF89748, St587 and Sgd 101/75 fulfil the criteria for selective α1-adrenoceptor agonists; their log dose-vasopressor effect curves are virtually unaffected by previous treatment with yohimbine or rauwolscine (selective dose in pithed rats: 1 mg/kg), whereas prazosin (selective dose in pithed rats: 0.1 mg/kg) causes an appreciable parallel rightward displacement. The reverse holds true for the stimulants B-HT 920, B-HT 933, B-HT 958, UK-14304, xylazine, TL-99, M-7 and DP-6,7-ADTN, which all have been classified as preferential agonists of vascular postjunctional α-adrenoceptors.

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