Adrenoceptors and dopamine receptors are grouped together under the name 'catecholamine receptors.' Catecholamines and catecholaminergic drugs act on catecholamine receptors located on or near the cardiovascular system. The physiological effects of catecholamine receptor stimulation are only partly understood. The catecholaminergic drugs used in critical care medicine today are not selective, or are, at best, in part selective for the various catecholamine receptor subtypes. Many patients, however, depend on them. A variety of animal models has been developed to unravel catecholamine distribution and function. However, the identification of species heterogeneity makes it imperative to determine catecholamine receptor distribution and function in humans. In addition, age-related alterations in catecholamine receptor distribution and function have been identified in human adults. This might have implications for our understanding of the effect of catecholamines in pediatric patients. This article will focus on the pediatric population and will review currently available in vitro data on the distribution and the function of catecholamine receptors in the cardiovascular system of fetuses and children. Also discussed are relevant young animal models and in vivo hemodynamic effects of cardiotonic drugs acting on the catecholamine receptor in children requiring major cardiac surgery. A better understanding of these topics might provide clues for new, receptor subtype-selective, therapeutic approaches in newborns and children with cardiac disease.

, , , , ,,
Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology
Erasmus MC: University Medical Center Rotterdam

Buijs, E., Danser, J., Meijer, N., & Tibboel, D. (2011). Cardiovascular catecholamine receptors in children: Their significance in cardiac disease. Journal of Cardiovascular Pharmacology (Vol. 58, pp. 9–19). doi:10.1097/FJC.0b013e31822233dd