Epinephrine (adrenaline) is a hormone and acts as a neurotransmitter.
Epinephrine plays a central role in the stress reaction--the
physiological response to conditions that threaten the
physical integrity of the body. It is secreted by the
adrenal medulla. When released into the bloodstream,
epinephrine acts to increase heart rate and blood pressure,
dilate the pupils, elevate the blood sugar level (by
increased hydrolysis of glycogen to glucose), and
redistribute blood flow away from the skin and inner organs.
Epinephrine acts by increasing the levels of cyclic AMP
leading to bronchodilation and stimulation of the heart and
central nervous system. The drug is often administered
through oral inhalation to prevent wheezing and difficulty
in breathing. Epinephrine is more potent than many of the
over-the-counter drugs used for asthma and bronchitis.
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