Cold-induced changes in plasma norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine concentrations in patients with Raynaud's phenomenon

B. Marasini, M. L. Biondi, R. Mollica, A. Del Santo, A. Agostoni

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To investigate the role of the sympathetic system in Raynaud's phenomenon, which has not yet been elucidated, we measured the levels of norepinephrine, epinephrine and dopamine before, immediately and 30 min after the cold pressor test in plasma from 17 patients with primary, 6 with secondary Raynaud's phenomenon and 19 volunteers, matched for age and sex. Patients had significantly low baseline epinephrine (0.13 ± 0.02 vs 0.37 ± 0.04, nmol/l, p <0.001, mean ± S.E.), but normal norepinephrine and dopamine (norepinephrine: 1.77 ± 0.16 and 2.06 ± 0.18; dopamine: 0.10 ± 0.01 and 0.11 ± 0.02, patients and controls). Immediately after the cold test norepinephrine significantly increased (p <0.001) in patients (2.42 ± 0.22) and controls (3.24 ± 0.28); epinephrine increased in patients (0.18 ± 0.02, p <0.02); dopamine did not show any significant change (0.13 ± 0.01 and 0.13 ± 0.02, patients and controls). In the recovery period, while norepinephrine and epinephrine returned to baseline in both groups, dopamine increased in controls (0.21 ± 0.04, p <0.005) but remained unchanged in patients (0.11 ± 0.01). We conclude that there is no sympathetic overactivity in Raynaud's phenomenon and propose a role for circulating dopamine in post-ischaemic vasodilatation as an explanation for the particular behaviour of dopamine.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)111-114
Number of pages4
JournalEuropean Journal of Clinical Chemistry and Clinical Biochemistry
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - 1991


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Clinical Biochemistry

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