Background and purpose Despite the view that only β2- as opposed to β1-adrenoceptors (βARs) couple to Gi, some data indicate that the β1AR-evoked inotropic response is also influenced by the inhibition of Gi. Therefore, we wanted to determine if Gi exerts tonic receptor-independent inhibition upon basal adenylyl cyclase (AC) activity in cardiomyocytes.
Experimental approach We used the Gs-selective (R,R)- and the Gs- and Gi-activating (R,S)-fenoterol to selectively activate β2ARs (β1AR blockade present) in combination with Gi inactivation with pertussis toxin (PTX). We also determined the effect of PTX upon basal and forskolin-mediated responses. Contractility was measured ex vivo in left ventricular strips and cAMP accumulation was measured in isolated ventricular cardiomyocytes from adult Wistar rats.
Key results PTX amplified both the (R,R)- and (R,S)-fenoterol-evoked maximal inotropic response and concentration-dependent increases in cAMP accumulation. The EC50 values of fenoterol matched published binding affinities. The PTX enhancement of the Gs-selective (R,R)-fenoterol-mediated responses suggests that Gi regulates AC activity independent of receptor coupling to Gi protein. Consistent with this hypothesis, forskolin-evoked cAMP accumulation was increased and inotropic responses to forskolin were potentiated by PTX treatment. In non-PTX-treated tissue, phosphodiesterase (PDE) 3 and 4 inhibition or removal of either constitutive muscarinic receptor activation of Gi with atropine or removal of constitutive adenosine receptor activation with CGS 15943 had no effect upon contractility. However, in PTX-treated tissue, PDE3 and 4 inhibition alone increased basal levels of cAMP and accordingly evoked a large inotropic response.
Conclusions and implications Together, these data indicate that Gi exerts intrinsic receptor-independent inhibitory activity upon AC. We propose that PTX treatment shifts the balance of intrinsic Gi and Gs activity upon AC towards Gs, enhancing the effect of all cAMP-mediated inotropic agents.
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