β3-Adrenergic receptors (ARs) have been recently identified in mammalian hearts where, unlike β1- and β2-ARs, induce cardio-suppressive effects. The aim of this study was to describe β3-AR role in the frog (Rana esculenta) heart and to examine its signal transduction pathway. The presence of β3-AR, by using Western blotting analysis, has been also identified. BRL(37344), a selective β3-AR agonist, induced a dose-dependent negative inotropic effect at concentrations from 10(-12) to 10(-6)M. This effect was not modified by nadolol (β1/β2-AR antagonist) and by phentolamine (α-AR antagonist), but it was suppressed by the β3-AR-specific antagonist SR(59230) and by exposure to the Gi/o proteins inhibitor Pertussis Toxin. In addition, the involvement of EE-NOS-cGMP-PKG/PDE2 pathway in the negative inotropism of BRL(37344) has been assessed. BRL(37344) treatment induced eNOS and Akt phosphorylation as well as an increase of cGMP levels. β3-ARs activation induce a non-competitive antagonism against ISO stimulation which disappeared in presence of PKG and PDE2 inhibition. Taken together our findings provide, for the first time in the frog, a role for β3-ARs in the cardiac performance modulation which involves Gi/o protein and occurs via an EE-NO-cGMP-PKG/PDE2 cascade.
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