A new method for assessment of cultured cardiac myocyte contractility detects immune factor-mediated inhibition of beta-adrenergic responses.
BACKGROUND Potentially reversible congestive heart failure accompanies disease states associated with an immune cell myocardial infiltrate such as cardiac allograft rejection and inflammatory myocarditis. We therefore examined the hypothesis that immune cells can produce noncytotoxic alterations in cardiac function.
METHODS AND RESULTS A novel system to evaluate cultured cardiac myocyte contractility was developed using neonatal rat cardiocytes grown on human amniotic membrane segments. Spontaneous synchronous cell beating produced macroscopic distortion of these membranes. Movement of free-floating membranes anchored within a perfusion chamber was visualized under low-power microscopy and measured from recordings of the rhythmic displacement of membrane-adherent markers. Additions of graded concentrations of isoproterenol to the perfusate produced up to threefold increases in the initial contractile phase velocity (contractile index), with an EC50 of 10(-7) M. When the extracellular Ca2+ concentration was increased from 0.9 to 3.6 mM, 2.43-fold increases in this index occurred. Myocytes incubated for 72 hours in the presence of dilutions of medium conditioned by activated rat splenic macrophages and lymphocytes exhibited an isoproterenol contractile index inhibited by 62% compared with control cells. In contrast, responses of supernatant-exposed and control cells to increased extracellular Ca2+ concentrations were not significantly different. Parallel studies of increases in myocyte intracellular adenosine 3':5'-cyclic monophosphate concentrations in response to isoproterenol stimulation demonstrated correlative inhibition that was specific for exposure to medium conditioned by immune cells.
CONCLUSION Thus, a new method of in vitro cardiac contractility assessment that has significant advantages over existing systems has been developed and characterized. This new method has enabled description of an inhibitor of cardiac contractile function produced by activated immune cells.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association