Background & aims: Attenuated ventricular contractility has been documented in cirrhosis, but the pathogenesis remains unclear. The beta-adrenergic receptor system is critical in modulating cardiac contraction. Therefore, the aim of this study was to clarify beta-adrenoceptor signaling function in a rat model of cirrhosis.
Methods: Cirrhosis was induced by bile duct ligation, whereas controls underwent a sham operation. Myocardial contractility was studied by measuring isolated left ventricular papillary muscle contraction under isoproterenol stimulation. Beta-Adrenoceptor signaling was evaluated by measuring adenosine 3',5'-cyclic monophosphate generation after stimulation with isoproterenol, sodium fluoride, and forskolin. Guanosine triphosphate-binding protein expression from ventricular plasma membranes was determined by Western blots to measure G(s)alpha, Gi2alpha, and G(common)beta, respectively.
Results: Maximum papillary muscle contractile responses in control and cirrhotic rats were 113% +/- 3% and 70% +/- 2% of basal, respectively (P<0.01), with no significant differences in the dose-inducing half-maximal response. Adenosine 3', 5'-cyclic monophosphate generation after stimulation with all three agents was significantly lower in cirrhotic compared with control rat membranes. G(s)alpha and Gi2alpha expression was significantly reduced in cirrhotics compared with controls, but G(common)beta expression remained unchanged.
Conclusions: These data showed cardiac contractile impairment in cirrhosis, associated with altered beta-adrenergic receptor signaling function and guanine nucleotide-binding protein expression. These factors may play an important role in the pathogenesis of cirrhotic cardiomyopathy.