Beta-adrenoceptor blocker treatment and the cardiac beta-adrenoceptor-G-protein(s)-adenylyl cyclase system in chronic heart failure

Naunyn Schmiedebergs Arch Pharmacol. 2007 Feb;374(5-6):361-72. doi: 10.1007/s00210-006-0125-7. Epub 2007 Jan 11.


Recent studies showed that chronic beta-adrenoceptor (AR) blocker treatment exerts beneficial effects in patients with chronic heart failure (CHF). In CHF, sympathetic drive to the heart is increased, and this causes pathological changes in cardiac beta-AR-G-protein(s)-adenylyl cyclase system: Cardiac beta-1 AR are decreased, and amount and activity of cardiac G(i)-protein and G-protein-coupled receptor kinase (GRK) are increased resulting in diminished cardiac beta-AR functional responsiveness. One possible mechanism of beneficial effects of beta-AR blockers could be that they prevent adverse effects of increased sympathetic activity and up-regulate cardiac (and vascular) beta-AR density, and by this, enhance beta-AR-mediated effects. Another possibility could be that chronic beta-AR blocker treatment normalizes activity of G(i)-protein and may thereby restore beta-AR functional responsiveness. Moreover, failing human heart exhibits an inverse force-frequency relationship. beta-AR blockers reduce heart rate; this may, therefore, improve force of contraction. One of the strongest stimuli to activate GRK is increased sympathetic activity (as in CHF) via beta-AR stimulation. beta-AR blockers, by blocking beta-AR, can prevent GRK activation and/or can reduce the (previously enhanced) GRK activity, and this might-at least partly-contribute to beneficial effects of beta-AR blockers in CHF treatment. Finally, the "loss-of-function" Arg389Gly beta-1 AR polymorphism seems to determine heart rate and blood pressure responses to beta-1 AR blocker administration: Arg389Arg beta-1 AR subjects exhibit stronger effects than subjects with one or two Gly389 alleles. Thus, it might be predicted that patients homozygous Arg389 beta-1 AR should be good responders, whereas patients homozygous Gly389 beta-1 AR polymorphism should be poor or non-responders.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology*
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / therapeutic use
  • Animals
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go / metabolism*
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Heart Failure / drug therapy*
  • Heart Failure / metabolism
  • Heart Failure / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology*
  • beta-Adrenergic Receptor Kinases / metabolism


  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • beta-Adrenergic Receptor Kinases
  • GTP-Binding Protein alpha Subunits, Gi-Go
  • Adenylyl Cyclases