Heterogeneous transmural distribution of beta-adrenergic receptor subtypes in failing human hearts.
BACKGROUND Downregulation of myocardial beta-adrenergic receptor density does not occur in a spatially uniform distribution in patients with congestive heart failure. Rather, it results primarily from loss of receptors in the subendocardium. In patients with dilated cardiomyopathy, beta 1-receptors have been found to be downregulated selectively. These observations suggest that considerable transmural heterogeneity in the distribution of beta-adrenergic receptor subtypes exists in the failing human heart. The present study was designed to test this hypothesis.
METHODS AND RESULTS We used quantitative autoradiography of radioligand binding sites to measure the distribution of beta-adrenergic receptor subtypes in transmural sections of left ventricular myocardium obtained from cardiac transplant patients with ischemic (n = 13) and idiopathic dilated (n = 12) cardiomyopathy and from 4 subjects with no history of cognitive heart failure. Analysis of radioligand binding isotherms revealed a significant reduction in total beta-adrenergic receptor density in hearts of patients with ischemic and idiopathic cardiomyopathy (20.3 +/- 1.9 and 18.2 +/- 2.0 fmol/mg protein, respectively, versus 40.0 +/- 11.4 in control subjects; P < .01 for both). Loss of the beta 1-subtype accounted for 86% of the total reduction in beta-receptor density in failing hearts. Despite the significant decreases in overall tissue receptor content, the densities of total beta-receptors and beta-receptor subtypes in subepicardial myocytes were equivalent in failing and control hearts. However, in contrast to control hearts, in which the transmural distribution of total and beta 1-receptors was uniform (endocardial: epicardial receptor density ratios, 0.97 +/- 0.14 and 1.0 +/- 0.2, respectively), hearts of patients with ischemic and idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy had significantly lower total beta-receptor and beta 1-receptor densities in the subendocardium (ratios, 0.66 +/- 0.06 and 0.46 +/- 0.09 for total and beta 1-receptors, respectively, in ischemic cardiomyopathy and 0.60 +/- 0.08 and 0.52 +/- 0.11 in dilated cardiomyopathy; P < .001 for all values compared with a ratio of 1). Thus, beta 1: beta 2 receptor density ratios were markedly decreased in the subendocardium of ischemic and idiopathic dilated left ventricles compared with control hearts.
CONCLUSIONS A significant transmural gradient in the density of myocardial beta 1-adrenergic receptors exists in the hearts of patients with ischemic and dilated cardiomyopathy, resulting in a markedly altered beta 1: beta 2 receptor density ratio in the subendocardium.
- Copyright © 1993 by American Heart Association