There is increasing evidence that alpha-adrenoceptors also exist in the myocardium and that an increase in force of contraction may be produced by stimulation of these sites. This positive inotropism seems to be dependent either on an increased amount of Ca++ released into the cytosol with each action potential or on increased myofilament responsiveness. In contrast, beta-adrenergic stimulation reduces the sensitivity of the contractile proteins and the positive inotropic effect is due to the activation of L-type calcium channels on the sarcolemma. We used single, isolated, enzymatically dissociated, adult rat ventricular myocytes. Cells were loaded either with the ester derivative of the Ca++ probe Indo-1 or with the intracellular pH probe Snarf-1 and at the same time we measured the contractile parameters and monitored the fluorescence as an index of intracellular calcium concentration or pH value. The single cells (bicarbonate buffer continuously gassed with O2 95%, CO2 5%, Ca++ 1.5 mM, field stimulation 0.5 Hz) were exposed to phenylephrine (50 microM) and nadolol (1 microM). Alpha-adrenergic stimulation increased twitch amplitude (delta ES = 1.93 +/- 0.77, n = 8; p less than 0.05) and showed only a slight increase in Ca++ transient. On the other end, the positive inotropic effect (delta ES = 2.84 +/- 0.86, n = 4; p less than 0.02) obtained with beta-adrenergic stimulation (isoproterenol 50 nM, bicarbonate buffer, Ca++ 0.5 mM, field stimulation 0.2 Hz) was always associated with a large increase in intracellular Ca++ concentration. Isoproterenol did not change intracellular pH (delta pH = 0.006 +/- 0.006, n = 4; NS) while phenylephrine increased it significantly (delta pH = 0.055 +/- 0.011, n = 8; p less than 0.002). Moreover, there was a statistically significant correlation between delta ES and delta pH (R2 = 0.532; p less than 0.05) when phenylephrine was present. This alkalinization as well as the increased contractility was antagonized by treatment with ethyl isopropyl-amiloride (10 microM), a selective Na+/H+ inhibitor (delta ES = 0.09 +/- 0.07, n = 6; NS and delta pH = -0.001 +/- 0.011, n = 6; NS). Thus, alpha-adrenergic stimulation in isolated cardiac cells exerts a positive inotropic effect and this is associated with a significant intracellular pH alkalinization. In contrast, the marked inotropic action of beta-stimulation does not involve any intracellular pH modulation. Therefore, it seems likely that, in myocardial cells, an increased myofilament responsiveness due to the alkalinization could represent a possible mechanism for the positive inotropic effect mediated by alpha-adrenergic stimulation.
|Translated title of the contribution||Alpha but not beta-adrenergic stimulation has a positive inotropic effect associated with alkalinization of intracellular pH|
|Number of pages||12|
|Publication status||Published - Jan 1991|
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine