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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Influence of alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor antagonists on ventricular fibrillation in ischemic rat hearts.

Although it is generally accepted that adrenergic influences contribute to arrhythmias during myocardial ischemia, it is still a matter of debate whether these arrhythmogenic effects are mediated via alpha- or beta-adrenergic receptors and which particular receptor subtype is involved. Controversial results may be due to ancillary properties of the adrenergic receptor antagonists used to resolve this question. Therefore, we compared the influence of various, structurally different alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents on the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation in rat isolated hearts. Regional ischemia was induced by ligature of the left coronary artery and ECG was monitored over 30 min of coronary occlusion. Myocardial ischemia precipitated ventricular fibrillation in a well reproducible manner with an incidence of about 80% in control hearts. Racemic propranolol (0.1-1 micromol/l) concentration-relatedly reduced the incidence of ventricular fibrillation from 71% in controls to 10%, whereas the beta-adrenoceptor blocking agents atenolol (10 micromol/l) and timolol (1 micromol/l) did not influence the occurrence of arrhythmias. Moreover, both stereoisomers of propranolol were equipotent in suppressing ischemia-induced ventricular fibrillation, indicating an action of propranolol independent of its beta-adrenoceptor blocking properties. Unselective antagonism of alpha-adrenoceptors by phentolamine decreased the incidence of ventricular fibrillation from 90% to 58% at 0.1 micromol/l and totally suppressed ventricular fibrillation at 1 micromol/l. The alpha1-selective antagonists prazosin and HEAT concentration-dependently (0.1-10 micromol/l) reduced the incidence of ventricular fibrillation from 83% to 0%, whereas the alpha2-selective antagonist RX 821002 revealed no antiarrhythmic effect. Furthermore, subtype specific antagonism of alpha1A-adrenoceptors by WB 4101 clearly reduced the occurrence of ventricular fibrillation in a concentration-dependent manner (0.01-1 micromol/l) from 66% to 17%. Conversely, CEC, known to block the alpha1B-adrenoceptor subtype, possessed no antifibrillatory effect. In conclusion, the contribution of catecholamines to ischemia-induced arrhythmias in rat isolated heart is primarily mediated via WB 4101-sensitive alpha1-adrenergic activation. Beta- and alpha2-adrenoceptor blockade did not affect ventricular fibrillation in this model. The antifibrillatory action of propranolol was rather due to ancillary properties of this agent.[1]


  1. Influence of alpha- and beta-adrenoceptor antagonists on ventricular fibrillation in ischemic rat hearts. Tölg, R., Kurz, T., Ungerer, M., Schreieck, J., Görge, B., Richardt, G. Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch. Pharmacol. (1997) [Pubmed]
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