Human heart beta-adrenoceptors: beta1-adrenoceptor diversification through 'affinity states' and polymorphism

Clin Exp Pharmacol Physiol. 2007 Oct;34(10):1020-8. doi: 10.1111/j.1440-1681.2007.04730.x.


1. In atrium and ventricle from failing and non-failing human hearts, activation of beta(1)- or beta(2)-adrenoceptors causes increases in contractile force, hastening of relaxation, protein kinase A-catalysed phosphorylation of proteins implicated in the hastening of relaxation, phospholamban, troponin I and C-protein, consistent with coupling of both beta(1)- and beta(2)-adrenoceptors to stimulatory G(salpha)-protein but not inhibitory G(ialpha)-protein. 2. Two 'affinity states', namely beta(1H) and beta(1L), of the beta(1)-adrenoceptor exist. In human heart, noradrenaline elicits powerful increases in contractile force and hastening of relaxation. These effects are blocked with high affinity by beta-adenoceptor antagonists, including propranolol, (-)-pindolol, (-)-CGP 12177 and carvedilol. Some beta-blockers, typified by (-)-pindolol and (-)-CGP 12177, not only block the receptor, but also activate it, albeit at much higher concentrations (approximately 2 log units) than those required to antagonize the effects of catecholamines. In human heart, both (-)-CGP 12177 and (-)-pindolol increase contractile force and hasten relaxation. However, the involvement of the beta(1)-adrenoceptor was not immediately obvious because (-)-pindolol- and (-)-CGP 12177-evoked responses were relatively resistant to blockade by (-)-propranolol. Abrogation of cardiostimulant effects of (-)-CGP 12177 in beta(1)-/beta(2)-adrenoceptor double-knockout mice, but not beta(2)-adrenoceptor-knockout mice, revealed an obligatory role of the beta(1)-adrenoceptor. On the basis of these results, two 'affinity states' have been designated, the beta(1H)- and beta(1L)-adrenoceptor, where the beta(1H)-adrenoceptor is activated by noradrenaline and blocked with high affinity by beta-blockers and the beta(1L)-adrenoceptor is activated by drugs such as (-)-CGP 12177 and (-)-pindolol and blocked with low affinity by beta-blockers such as (-)-propranolol. The beta(1H)- and beta(1L)-adrenoceptor states are consistent with high- and low-affinity binding sites for (-)-[(3)H]-CGP 12177 radioligand binding found in cardiac muscle and recombinant beta(1)-adrenoceptors. 3. There are two common polymorphic locations of the beta(1)-adrenoceptor, at amino acids 49 (Ser/Gly) and 389 (Arg/Gly). Their existence has raised several questions, including their role in determining the effectiveness of heart failure treatment with beta-blockers. We have investigated the effect of long-term maximally tolerated carvedilol administration (> 1 year) on left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) in patients with non-ischaemic cardiomyopathy (mean left ventricular ejection fraction 23 +/- 7%; n = 135 patients). The administration of carvedilol improved LVEF to 37 +/- 13% (P < 0.005); however, the improvement was variable, with 32% of patients showing pound 5% improvement. Upon segregation of patients into Arg389Gly-beta(1)-adrenoceptors, it was found that carvedilol caused a greater increase in left ventricular ejection faction in patients carrying the Arg389 allele with Arg389Arg > Arg389Gly > Gly389Gly.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists / pharmacology
  • Animals
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart Atria / drug effects
  • Heart Ventricles / drug effects
  • Humans
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Polymorphism, Genetic / genetics*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / genetics*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-1 / genetics*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-1 / physiology*
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / genetics
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2 / physiology
  • Species Specificity


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Adrenergic beta-Antagonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-1
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta-2