Mechanical effects of ET-1 in cardiomyocytes isolated from normal and heart-failed rabbits
Abstract Endothelin (ET-1) is found at elevated concentrations in the plasma of patients with heart failure and in animal models of cardiomyopathy. The peptide is a potent positive inotropic agent, the effects of which are mediated by increases in cytosolic Ca 2+ in cardiomyocytes. The object of this study was to investigate at the cellular level, the actions of ET-1 on contractile function and on Ca 2+ currents in heart-failed ventricular myocardium. Male New Zealand White rabbits (8 wks) were treated with twice weekly injections of epirubicin (4 mg/kg/wk, n=7) or with saline (n=7) for 6 wks, followed by a washout period of 2 wks. Ventricular cardiomyocytes were isolated from rabbit hearts using Langendorff perfusion with collagenase; contractile function was examined using a video microscopy method, and L-type Ca 2+ currents were recorded using a whole-cell patch-clamp technique. ET-1 produced a concentration-dependent increase in contractile response (% increase from basal value) to a maximum at 1 nM ET-1 of 69 ± 11% (mean ± S.D.) in control cardiomyocytes and 33 ± 6% in heart-failed cells. However, there was no significant change in the EC 50 obtained with ET-1 for healthy (0.31 ± 0.1 nM) and for failed cardiomyocytes (0.24 ± 0.1 nM). The effects of ET-1 on L-type Ca 2+ channels were similar with a peak amplitude at 1 nM ET-1 of −3.26 ± 0.8 ⊴⃒ in control cardiomyocytes and −3.32 ± 0.9 nA in heart-failed cells. The attenuation of the contractile response to ET-1 in heart-failed cells may reflect a desensitization of ET receptors as a consequence of elevated circulating levels of ET and was not reflected by alteration of transmembrane Ca 2+ conductance. It is probable, therefore, that multiple signalling pathways are involved in the actions of ET on ventricular myocardium.
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