Reflex control of sympathetic nerve activity in dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency.
Patients with autonomic failure secondary to dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency lack the enzyme activity necessary for the conversion of dopamine to norepinephrine in sympathetic nerve terminals and the adrenal medulla. These patients have virtually undetectable norepinephrine and epinephrine in plasma and cerebrospinal fluid. The presence of intact sympathetic nerve activity in these patients has been suggested by the enhanced release of dopamine (but not norepinephrine) in response to maneuvers that augment sympathetic outflow in normal subjects. In the present study, we recorded sympathetic nerve traffic by using microneurography in a patient with dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency and measured sympathetic neural responses to static exercise, the cold pressor test, and pharmacological alterations of blood pressure. At rest, sympathetic nerve activity was abundant and was modulated in a normal manner by handgrip (+278%), the cold pressor test (+169%), hypotension induced with isoproterenol (+102%), and hypertension induced with phenylephrine (-85%). These results provide the first electrophysiological evidence for intact regulation of sympathetic neural outflow in a patient with dopamine beta-hydroxylase deficiency and suggest that central norepinephrine and epinephrine pathways believed essential for the control of sympathetic neurotransmission in humans may be supplanted by alternative redundant mechanisms.
- Copyright © 1990 by American Heart Association