Research Article

Increased plasma adrenaline concentrations in benign essential hypertension.

Br Med J 1977; 2 doi: (Published 12 November 1977) Cite this as: Br Med J 1977;2:1251
  1. R Franco-Morselli,
  2. J L Elghozi,
  3. E Joly,
  4. S Di Giuilio,
  5. P Meyer


    Plasma adrenaline, noradrenaline, and dopamine concentrations and plasma renin activity were measured in the supine position and after standing for 10 minutes in 14 patients with sustained benign essential hypertension and in five patients with labile hypertension. Results were compared with values obtained in 11 normotensive control subjects. In controls plasma noradrenaline concentrations increased with age, while plasma adrenaline values tended to decrease with age. No significant difference in mean plasma noradrenaline was found between hypertensive and control subjects, but plasma noradrenaline seemed slightly increased in a proportion of hypertensive patients aged less than 50. Plasma adrenaline was considerably raised in both supine and standing positions in eight patients with sustained hypertension and in two with labile hypertension. Dopamine concentrations and plasma renin activity were similar in all groups studied. The finding of significantly raised plasma adrenaline concentrations in a large proportion of hypertensive patients supports the hypothesis that the activity of the sympathetic nervous system is increased in essential hypertension. Measurement of plasma adrenaline seems to be a more sensitive index of this activity than that of plasma noradrenaline.