Genetic variations in the α2A-Adrenoreceptor are associated with blood pressure response to the agonist dexmedetomidine

Daniel Kurnik, Mordechai Muszkat, Chun Li, Gbenga G. Sofowora, Eitan A. Friedman, Mika Scheinin, Alastair J.J. Wood, C. Michael Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

23 Scopus citations


Background: α2A-Adrenoceptors (α2A-ARs) have important roles in sympathetic cardiovascular regulation. Variants of ADRA2A affect gene transcription and expression and are associated with insulin release and risk for type 2 diabetes. We examined whether ADRA2A variants are also associated with cardiovascular responses to the selective α2A-ARagonist dexmedetomidine. Methods and Results: Seventy-three healthy subjects participated in a placebo-controlled, single-blind study. After 3 infusions of placebo, subjects received 3 incremental infusions of dexmedetomidine (cumulative dose, 0.4 μg/kg). Primary outcomes were changes in systolic blood pressure (SBP) and plasma norepinephrine concentrations, measured as difference of the area-under-the-curve during placebo and dexmedetomidine infusions (δAUC). We used multiple linear regression analysis to examine the associations between 9 ADRA2A tagging variants and 5 inferred haplotypes and δAUC after adjustment for covariates. Homozygous carriers of rs553668 and the corresponding haplotype 4, previously associated with increased α2A-AR expression, had a 2.2-fold greater decrease in AUCSBP after dexmedetomidine (adjusted P=0.006); similarly, the maximum decrease in SBP was 24.7±8.1 mm Hg compared with 13.6±5.9 mm Hg in carriers of the wild-type allele (P=0.007). Carriers of haplotype 3, previously associated with reduced α2A-AR expression, had a 44% smaller decrease in AUCSBP (P=0.013). Haplotype information significantly improved the model predicting the decrease in SBP (P=0.001). There were similar but nonsignificant trends for diastolic blood pressure and heart rate. Genotypes were not significantly associated with norepinephrine responses. Conclusions: Common ADRA2A variants are associated with the hypotensive response to dexmedetomidine. Effects of specific variants/haplotypes in vivo are compatible with their known effects on gene expression in vitro.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)179-187
Number of pages9
JournalCirculation: Cardiovascular Genetics
Issue number2
StatePublished - Apr 2011
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenergic
  • Alpha
  • Genetic polymorphism
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • Receptor
  • Receptors
  • Variability in drug response


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