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Molecular Structure of Epinephrine

Epinephrine, also known as adrenaline,[1] is a hormone in the body. The Latin roots ad-+renes and the Greek roots epi-+nephros both mean into/onto the kidney, which is a reference to the adrenal glands. In medical jargon, epinephrine is shortened to just "epi" (pronounced eh-pee).


The hormone was first isolated and purified in 1901 by Japanese chemist Jokichi Takamine.[2] It was patented in the US with the name "adrenaline".[1]

Effects in the body

Epinephrine is very important in short-term stress reaction (see Fight or Flight reaction). Epinephrine increases heart rate, making the pupils bigger, making the blood vessels in the legs bigger, and weakens the immune system for a short time. Because of this, epinephrine is a common treatment for allergy such as Anaphylaxis. Bad reactions to epinephrine include heart palpitations, tachycardia, anxiety, headache, tremor, hypertension, and acute pulmonary edema.

Effects in the lungs

When inhaled as a mist, epinephrine causes the muscles that surround the parts of the lung that holds air to relax, which allows more air into the lungs. This is helpful in asthma or bronchiolitis.

Other pages


  1. 1.0 1.1 Aronson, Jeffrey K. "'Where name and image meet'—the argument for 'adrenaline'," British Medical Journal (BMJ). 19 February 2000, Vol. 320, Issue 2733, pp. 506-509; retrieved 2012-11-15.
  2. Pulvers, Roger. "Jokichi Takamine: a man with fire in his belly whatever the odds," Japan Times, June 28, 2009; retrieved 2012-11-25.