Alterations in β-adrenoceptor mechanisms in the aging heart. Relationship with heart failure

N. Ferrara, K. Davia, P. Abete, F. Rengo, S. E. Harding

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In chronic heart failure substantial and characteristic changes occur in the function of the adrenergic nervous system. Studies in isolated left ventricular muscle and in single cardiomyocytes from experimental models of aging and, recently, from humans show an age-related reduced contractile response to β-adrenoceptor stimulation. 'β-adrenoceptor desensitization' is thought to be a general and common mechanism to explain the age- and heart failure-related decrease in β-adrenoceptor response. The aim of this review is to compare alterations in β-adrenoceptor mechanisms in physiological cardiovascular aging and chronic heart failure. From an analysis of the overall data on the role of aging in β-adrenoceptor regulation in human and animal hearts, it is possible to conclude that the reduced response to β- agonists is common to all species and all cardiac tissues. Moreover, the age- related changes are limited to β-adrenoceptor-G-protein (s)-adenytyl cyclase system abnormalities, while the type and level of abnormalities change with species and tissues. The modifications shown in the aging heart are not very different from some observed in heart failure. In particular, both in aged and failing hearts we may see that the decrease in β-adrenoceptor responsiveness is related to changes in G-protein function.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)391-403
Number of pages13
JournalAging clinical and experimental research
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - Dec 1997


  • β-adrenergic receptor
  • β-adrenoceptor desensitization
  • Aging
  • G-protein.
  • Heart failure

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ageing
  • Geriatrics and Gerontology


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