The adrenal gland plays a fundamental role in the response to a variety of stress situations. After a stress condition, adrenal medullary chromaffin cells release, by exocytosis, high quantities of catecholamine (epinephrine, EP; norepinephrine, NE), especially EP. Once in the blood stream, catecholamines reach different target organs, and induce their biological actions through the activation of different adrenoceptors. Adrenal gland cells may also be activated by catecholamines, through hormonal, paracrine and/or autocrine system. The presence of functional adrenoceptors on human adrenal medulla and their involvement on catecholamines secretion was not previously evaluated. In the present study we investigated the role of β1-, β2- and β3-adrenoceptors on catecholamine release from human adrenal chromaffin cells in culture.
We observed that the β-adrenoceptor agonist (isoproterenol) and β2-adrenoceptor agonist (salbutamol) stimulated catecholamine (NE and EP) release from human adrenal chromaffin cells. Furthermore, the β2-adrenoceptor antagonist (ICI 118,551; 100 nM) and β3-adrenoceptor antagonist (SR 59230A; 100 nM) inhibited the catecholamine release stimulated by isoproterenol and nicotine in chromaffin cells. The β1-adrenoceptor antagonist (atenolol; 100 nM) did not change the isoproterenol- neither the nicotine-evoked catecholamine release from human adrenal chromaffin cells. Moreover, our results show that the protein kinase A (PKA), protein kinase C (PKC), mitogen-activated protein kinase (MAPK) and phospholipase C (PLC) are intracellular mechanisms involved in the catecholamine release evoked by salbutamol. In conclusion, our data suggest that the activation of β2- and β3-adrenoceptors modulate the basal and evoked catecholamine release, NE and EP, via an autocrine positive feedback loop in human adrenal chromaffin cells.