Plasma concentrations and cardiotoxic effects of desipramine and protriptyline in the rat

G. Bianchetti, A. Bonaccorsi, A. Chiodaroli, R. Franco, S. Garattini, R. Gomeni, P. L. Morselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Desipramine and protriptyline were administered to anaesthetized rats by two consecutive intravenous infusions in order to obtain a peak level (first infusion) followed by lower steady state concentrations (second infusion). Theoretical plasma level time courses were confirmed experimentally. Desipramine and protriptyline were measured in atria and ventricles. Increasing infusion rates led to proportional increases in plasma and atrial concentrations. The tissue/medium ratio ranged from 57 to 21 for desipramine and from 43 to 11 for protriptyline according to the time of determination during infusion. Heart rate changes, deviation of the electrical axis of the heart and prolongation of atrioventricular conduction were recorded at fixed times during infusion. Positive chronotropic effects were noted at plasma concentrations ranging from 0.035 to 0.1 μg/ml for desipramine and from 0.04 to 1.2 μg/ml for protriptyline. At higher plasma concentrations the positive chronotropic effect decreased and bradycardia developed. Both drugs induced right rotation of the electrical axis of the heart. Threshold plasma levels giving 40° rotation were 1.35 μg/ml (desipramine) and 1.75 μg/ml (protriptyline). Atrioventricular conduction was prolonged at threshold plasma concentrations of 2.2 μg/ml for desipramine and 3.6 μg/ml for protriptyline. Desipramine is more cardiotoxic than protriptyline. This difference is discussed in relation to the plasma and heart concentration of the two drugs.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)11-19
Number of pages9
JournalBritish Journal of Pharmacology
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 1977

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Pharmacology


Dive into the research topics of 'Plasma concentrations and cardiotoxic effects of desipramine and protriptyline in the rat'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this