The mechanism of yohimbine-induced renin release in the conscious rat

Sandra L. Pfister, T. Kent Keeton

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

4 Scopus citations


These studies were designed to determine the role of the central nervous system, the sympathetic nervous system, the adrenal glands and the renal sympathetic nerves in yohimbine-induced renin release in conscious rats. Yohimbine (0.3-10 mg/kg, s.c.) caused time- and dose-related increases in plasma renin activity (PRA) and concentration (PRC) which were accompanied by time- and dose-related elevations of plasma norepinephrine (NE) and epinephrine (Epi) concentrations. Significant positive correlations were found between the increases in PRA and the increases in plasma NE and Epi concentrations caused by yohimbine, and propranolol (1.5 mg/kg, s.c.) blocked 90% of yohimbine (3 mg/kg, s.c.)-induced renin release. Over the entire spectrum of doses of yohimbine, the increases in PRA and plasma NE and Epi concentrations were positively correlated with the decreases in mean arterial pressure (MAP), but the γ-intercept was positive in every case and the 1 mg/ kg dose of yohimbine consistently increased PRA independent of any change in MAP. Complete renal denervation, as evidenced by a greater than 90% reduction in renal NE content, did not alter the increase in PRA caused by yohimbine (3 mg/kg, s.c.). An increase in circulating plasma catecholamine concentrations appeared to mediate yohimbine-induced renin release since propranolol prevented the rise in PRA caused by yohimbine in renal denervated rats. Prior adrenalectomy (Adx) also failed to prevent the rise in PRA produced by yohimbine (3 mg/kg, s.c.), but a combination of Adx and renal denervation caused a significant impairment of yohimbine-induced renin release. However, neither Adx alone nor the combination of Adx and renal denervation affected the increase in plasma NE concentration caused by yohimbine. Complete transection of the spinal cord at C8 caused a drastic reduction in plasma catecholamine concentrations but did not change basal PRC. Yohimbine (3 mg/kg, s.c.) did not increase PRC or plasma catecholamine concentrations after spinal transection. Based on these results, we conclude that 1) the stimulation of renin release by yohimbine is a secondary neurohormonal consequence of the generalized increase in sympathetic activity caused by yohimbine, 2) the sympathoadrenal activation produced by yohimbine results from an action in the brain which is amplified by the simultaneous blockade of prejunctional α2-adrenoceptors and 3) vasodepressor effects of the larger doses yohimbine cause a baroreflexly-mediated increase in sympathetic activity which interacts in a positive fashion with the central and peripheral sympathoexcitatory effects of yohimbine.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-46
Number of pages12
JournalNaunyn-Schmiedeberg's Archives of Pharmacology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1988


  • Adrenalectomy
  • Plasma catecholamine concentrations
  • plasma renin activity
  • Renal denervation
  • Yohimbine

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


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