The functional importance of beta 1 and beta 2 adrenoceptors in the human heart

Am J Cardiol. 1988 Aug 11;62(5):24C-29C. doi: 10.1016/s0002-9149(88)80063-8.


Radioligand binding studies have demonstrated convincingly the coexistence of beta 1 and beta 2 adrenoceptors in the human heart. Both subtypes are involved in the increase in tissue levels of cyclic adenosine monophosphate in isolated, electrically driven, human right atria and in the activation of adenylate cyclase in human cardiac membrane preparations. In isolated, electrically driven strips of human right atria, isoproterenol increased contractile force through stimulation of both beta 1 and beta 2 adrenoceptors, while the selective beta 2-adrenoceptor agonist, procaterol, caused its positive inotropic effect predominantly through beta 2-adrenoceptor stimulation. Norepinephrine, however, increased contractile force solely via beta 1-adrenoceptor stimulation. In this preparation, dobutamine also acted as a full agonist, producing a positive inotropic effect through stimulation of both beta-adrenoceptor subtypes. Dopexamine hydrochloride, on the other hand, having an approximately 10-fold greater affinity for right atrial beta 2 than for beta 1 adrenoceptors, acted as a partial agonist (maximal positive inotropic effect: about 30% that of isoproterenol). Similar effects have been obtained in human right and left ventricular strips; thus, there can be no doubt that cardiac beta 2 adrenoceptors can contribute to the positive inotropic effects of beta-adrenoceptor agonists in the human heart. Besides mediating positive inotropic effects, right atrial beta 2 adrenoceptors may be involved in the regulation of heart rate since, in healthy volunteers, the selective beta 2-adrenoceptor antagonist, ICI 118,551, was more potent than the selective beta 1-adrenoceptor antagonist, bisoprolol, in antagonizing isoproterenol-induced tachycardia, when both antagonists were administered in doses that selectively occupied more than 90% of beta 2 and beta 1 adrenoceptors, respectively.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenylyl Cyclases / metabolism
  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists / pharmacology
  • Heart / innervation
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Myocardium / enzymology
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta / physiology*


  • Adrenergic beta-Agonists
  • Receptors, Adrenergic, beta
  • Adenylyl Cyclases