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Epinephrine, the Autonomic Nervous System, Beta-Blockers and Blood Pressure/Heart Rate Modulation

Identify a drug, either natural or man-made, that affects the ANS;

Identify the receptor affected by the drug;

Describe that receptor's normal function;

Describe how the drug affects that receptor's normal function on a molecular scale;

Describe the physiological effect the drug has on the patient and what condition the drug is customarily used for;

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The autonomic nervous system is primarily involved in the involuntary control of various body functions, among which are the regulation of heart beat in response to increased / decreased metabolic demands. Obviously, if parts of the body are functioning more than usual, it requires more resources, which can only be delivered so quickly via the blood supply. A way to increase resources would be to simply increase the blood supply, often via increased volumes of blood pumping out of the heart and/or increased rate at which the heart pumps out blood.

This change in heart rate is modulated in part by the autonomic nervous system, which relies on epinephrine as a neurotransmitter to increase heart rate. The lack of ...

Solution Summary

A brief discussion on the usage of epinephrine and beta blockers on cardiovascular function, especially during stress. Some molecular pharmacology is discussed briefly, with a focus on clinical applications and effects for such pathologies as congestive heart failure and arrhythmia.