Force-frequency relations in the failing rabbit heart and responses to adrenergic stimulation.
BACKGROUND: Recent experiments have documented the importance of beta-adrenergic regulation of the force-frequency relation (FFR) in the normal and failing heart. As in isolated human cardiac muscle, a descending limb of the FFR occurs at high frequencies in the intact rabbit heart, and therefore a new model of atrial pacing-induced heart failure was developed in the rabbit. Responses of the FFR to beta-adrenergic stimulation were then assessed in the conscious state before and after the induction of heart failure. METHODS AND RESULTS: Rapid atrial pacing for an average of 19.5 days in instrumented rabbits produced severe left ventricular dilation with reduced cardiac output (echocardiography) and depressed myocardial contractility and relaxation rate (left ventricular dP/dt, catheter-tip micromanometer), associated with reductions in beta-adrenergic receptor density and adenylyl cyclase activity. Before heart failure, heart rate was slowed in the conscious animal from 280 +/- 30 (SD) to about 225 beats/min using a sinus node inhibitor (zatebradine), and heart rate was then increased in steps by atrial pacing from 250 to 450 beats/min; the heart rate-versus-left ventricular dP/dtmax (FFR) response showed an ascending response (increasing contractility), with a descending limb at rates greater than 375 beats/min, and dobutamine infusion amplified the ascending limb of the FFR (increased slope) and attenuated the descending limb. In heart failure the basal FFR was severely depressed with a descending limb over 350 beats/min; dobutamine shifted the FFR upward somewhat without change in the slope of the ascending limb, whereas dobutamine prevented the descending limb of the FFR. Similar responses were observed in the relations between heart rate and cardiac output. CONCLUSIONS: A new model of heart failure in the conscious rabbit was developed using rapid atrial pacing and applied to study force-frequency effects. In heart failure, normal beta-adrenergic amplification of the ascending limb of the FFR by dobutamine was absent, but a marked descending limb of the FFR at higher heart rates was prevented by dobutamine. Observed reductions in components of the beta-adrenergic receptor system likely were responsible for impaired beta-adrenergic FFR amplification, but the mechanism(s) for the descending limb and its correction by dobutamine are not yet established. These responses of the FFR may influence importantly the ability of the failing heart to respond to exercise and stress.
Ryu, KH; Tanaka, N; Dalton, N; Mao, L; Rockman, HA; Milano, CA; Ross, J
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