Sympathetic reactivity during a yohimbine challenge test in essential hypertension.
Systemic administration of yohimbine augments sympathetic outflow and blocks presynaptic alpha 2-adrenergic receptors, releasing the sympathetic neurotransmitter norepinephrine (NE) into the bloodstream. The present study examined sympathoadrenal and hemodynamic responses to yohimbine in 19 patients with essential hypertension and 19 normotensive control subjects. Baseline mean values for arterial NE, epinephrine, dihydroxyphenylglycol (the main intraneuronal metabolite of NE), spillover of NE into arterial plasma, and corticotropin did not differ between the hypertensive and normotensive groups. Yohimbine (0.125 mg/kg i.v. bolus followed by 0.001 mg/kg/min infusion for a total of 15 minutes) increased mean arterial pressure in all but one subject (by 13 +/- 2% [SEM] in the normotensive and 17 +/- 2% in the hypertensive group) and increased arterial NE levels in all subjects (by 253 +/- 50 pg/ml in the normotensive and 312 +/- 51 pg/ml in the hypertensive group). Among hypertensive patients, pressor, cardiac, output, and arterial NE responses were distributed bimodally. Patients with large hemodynamic and NE responses to yohimbine typically reported a history of anxiety, depression, or other psychopathology and of marked pressor or tachycardic episodes during emotional stress. In the hypertensive and normotensive groups, baseline arterial NE concentrations predicted the magnitude of pressor responses to yohimbine (r = 0.59, r = 0.54,p less than 0.01), whereas baseline mean arterial pressure was unrelated to the pressor response. A yohimbine challenge test can identify patients with pressor hyperresponsiveness and can distinguish patients with pressor hyperresponsiveness due to excessive sympathoadrenal reactivity from patients with enhanced postsynaptic responsiveness to endogenous NE.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association