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Composed mainly of hormone-producing chromaffin cells, the adrenal medulla is the principal site of the conversion of the amino acid tyrosine into the catecholamines:

In response to stressors such as exercise or imminent danger, medullary cells release catecholamines into the blood in a 85:15 ratio of adrenaline to noradrenaline. [1]

Notable effects of adrenaline and noradrenaline include increased heart rate and blood pressure, blood vessel constriction, bronchiole dilation, and increased metabolism, all of which are characteristic of the fight-or-flight response. Release of catecholamines is stimualted by nerve impulses, and receptors for catecholamines are widely distributed throughout the body.


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  1. University of Michigan|Anatomy at UMich intro_autonomics_2_module/autonomics_05

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