Adenoviral gene transfer of Akt enhances myocardial contractility and intracellular calcium handling

A. Cittadini, M. G. Monti, G. Iaccarino, F. Di Rella, P. N. Tsichlis, A. Di Gianni, H. Strömer, D. Sorriento, C. Peschle, B. Trimarco, L. Saccà, G. Condorelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The serine-threonine kinase Akt/PKB mediates stimuli from different classes of cardiomyocyte receptors, including the growth hormone/insulin like growth factor and the β-adrenergic receptors. Whereas the growth-promoting and antiapoptotic properties of Akt activation are well established, little is known about the effects of Akt on myocardial contractility, intracellular calcium (Ca2+) handling, oxygen consumption, and β-adrenergic pathway. To this aim, Sprague -Dawley rats were subjected to a wild-type Akt in vivo adenoviral gene transfer using a catheter-based technique combined with aortopulmonary crossclamping. Left ventricular (LV) contractility and intracellular Ca2+ handling were evaluated in an isolated isovolumic buffer-perfused, aequorin-loaded whole heart preparations 10 days after the surgery. The Ca2+-force relationship was obtained under steady-state conditions in tetanized muscles. No significant hypertrophy was detected in adenovirus with wild-type Akt (Ad.Akt) versus controls rats (LV-to-body weight ratio 2.6±177;0.2 versus 2.7±177;0.1mg/g, controls versus Ad.Akt, P, NS). LV contractility, measured as developed pressure, increased by 41% in Ad.Akt. This was accounted for by both more systolic Ca2+ available to the contractile machinery (+19% versus controls) and by enhanced myofilament Ca2+ responsiveness, documented by an increased maximal Ca2+-activated pressure (+19% versus controls) and a shift to the left of the Ca2+-force relationship. Such increased contractility was paralleled by a slight increase of myocardial oxygen consumption (14%), while titrated dose of dobutamine providing similar inotropic effect augmented oxygen consumption by 39% (P2+ ATPase protein levels were significantly increased in Ad.Akt rats. β-Adrenergic receptor density, affinity, kinase-1 levels, and adenylyl cyclase activity were similar in the three animal groups. In conclusion, our results support an important role for Akt/PKB in the regulation of myocardial contractility and mechanoenergetics.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)8-19
Number of pages12
JournalGene Therapy
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2006


  • Akt
  • Calcium
  • Heart
  • Oxygen consumption

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Genetics


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