Differential expression of two α2-adrenergic receptor subtype mRNAs in human tissues

Merja Perälä, Harri Hirvonen, Hannu Kalimo, Sari Ala-Uotila, John W. Regan, Karl E.O. Åkerman, Mika Scheinin

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

45 Scopus citations


Genetic subtypes of α2-adrenergic receptors (AR) may mediate distinct physiological functions, and undergo differential cell type-specific regulation. Thus, these distinct receptor subtypes are possible targets for the development of subtype-selective drugs. We have analyzed the tissue distribution of two human α2-adrenoceptor subtype gene mRNAs, α2-C4 and α2-C10, in normal human fetal and adult tissues. Both receptor subtype mRNAs were abundantly expressed in fetal brain and choroid plexus. In non-neural fetal tissues, α2-C10 mRNA was detected in spleen, kidney, adrenal gland, and skin, while α2-C4 transcripts were observed only in kidney and skin. Most regions of the adult brain also expressed both subtypes, but with marked quantitative differences. For example, cerebral cortex contained predominantly α2-C10 mRNA, whereas the caudate nucleus expressed mostly α2-C4 mRNA. In adult peripheral tissues, α2-C10 mRNA expression was most abundant in spleen and renal cortex, and expression of α2-C4 mRNA was strongest in renal cortex and medulla. These different expression patterns provide evidence for the differential regulation of the two α2-adrenergic receptor genes and warrant further investigation with techniques capable of improved anatomical resolution. Regional differences in receptor subtype expression may be valuable for the development of new, subtype-selective pharmacological agents with more targeted actions compared to currently used α2-adrenoceptor agonists and antagonists.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)57-63
Number of pages7
JournalMolecular Brain Research
Issue number1-2
StatePublished - Nov 1992


  • Expression
  • Human
  • RNase protection assay
  • α-Adrenergic receptor

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cellular and Molecular Neuroscience


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