The role of β-adrenergic receptors in the cutaneous water evaporation mechanism in the heat-acclimated pigeon (Columba livia)

E. Ophir, Y. Arieli, P. Raber, J. Marder

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The effects of selective and non-selective β-adrenergic agents on cutaneous water evaporation (CWE) were studied in hand-reared rock pigeons (Columba livia). CWE was measured by the vapor diffusive resistance method, using a transient porometer. Intramuscular and subcutaneous injections of a non-selective β-adrenergic antagonist (propranolol) or a selective β2-adrenergic antagonist (ICI-118 551) to heat-acclimated (HAc) pigeons at ambient temperature (T(a)) of 24°C resulted in intensive CWE. The CWE values that were triggered by propranolol and ICI-118 551 (18.59±0.73 and 16.48±0.70 mg cm-2 h-1, respectively) were close to those induced by heat exposure (17.62±1.40 mgcm-2h-1). Subcutaneous administration of propranolol produced local response. Intramuscular injection of salbutamol (selective β2-adrenergic agonist) to HAc pigeons drastically diminished CWE induced by either propranolol, metoprolol or heat exposure. Such manipulations also enhanced panting at relatively low T(a)s (42°C). The inhibition of β1-adrenergic receptors by metoprolol increased CWE, while inhibition by atenolol produced no change from basal values. This difference may be attributed to their distinctive nature in penetrating the blood-brain barrier. Our findings indicate a regulatory pathway for CWE consisting of both β1- and β2-adrenergic receptors. We suggest that the β1-adrenergic effect is restricted mainly to the CNS, while the β2-adrenergic effect takes place at the effector level. We postulate this level to be either the cutaneous microvasculature or the epidermal layer. Copyright (C) 2000 Elsevier Science Inc.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)63-74
Number of pages12
JournalComparative Biochemistry and Physiology - A Molecular and Integrative Physiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2000
Externally publishedYes


  • Adrenergic-receptors
  • Birds
  • Cutaneous water evaporation
  • Heat acclimation
  • Pigeon
  • Propranolol
  • Skin
  • Thermoregulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Aquatic Science
  • Animal Science and Zoology
  • Molecular Biology
  • Biochemistry
  • Physiology


Dive into the research topics of 'The role of β-adrenergic receptors in the cutaneous water evaporation mechanism in the heat-acclimated pigeon (Columba livia)'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this