What Is Epinephrine’s Mechanism of Action?

Epinephrine’s mechanism of action involves triggering a physiological response when it binds with alpha and beta-adrenergic receptors. This results in elevated blood pressure and heart rate, increased muscle strength and faster sugar metabolism, states the University of Delaware.

Epinephrine, also referred to as adrenaline, is used in the emergency treatment of cardiac arrest, anaphylaxis and bronchial asthma. During cardiac arrest, this hormone is injected into the bloodstream to stimulate the heart muscles. This increases the pressure in the coronary artery, which in turn increases blood circulation.

A similar process occurs in the treatment of anaphylactic shock using adrenaline. By targeting alpha-adrenergic receptors, epinephrine functions as a vasoconstrictor. This reduces the effects of vasodilation and increased permeability of blood vessels that are associated with anaphylaxis, notes RxList. In bronchial asthma, epinephrine binds with beta-adrenergic neurons to induce bronchodilatory properties. This alleviates swelling within the mucosa and improves respiratory functions.