Anti hypertensive action of propranolol in man: Lack of evidence for a neural depressive effect

M. Guazzi, C. Fiorentini, A. Polese, M. T. Olivari, F. Magrini

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The hypothesis that a neural depressive action is related to the antihypertensive effects of beta blockers has been evaluated in 14 essential hypertensive male patients through the circulatory response to noxious stimuli. The pressor reaction to mental arithmetic was primarily mediated by cardiac stimulation (beta receptors activation), that to cold by vasoconstriction (alpha receptors activation). Arithmeticand cold were tested to separate the effects of peripheral beta blockade from possible neural and other influences. After propanolol (320 mg per day for 3 wk): (1) The baseline pressure was reduced; (2) appearance, peak, and disappearance time of the circulatory reaction to either stimulus was not altered; (3) the pressor effect of arithmetic was decreased in an extent proportional to the reduced rise of cardiac output; and (4) pressure during cold reached the pretreatment levels through an augmented increase of vascular resistance. Our findings indicate that propranolol depresses only the circulatory reactions mediated through beta receptors activation and provide no evidence of effects other than beta blockade.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)304-309
Number of pages6
JournalClinical Pharmacology and Therapeutics
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Sept 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology
  • Pharmacology (medical)


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