BACKGROUND - beta-Adrenergic receptor (beta-AR) stimulation increases apoptosis in adult rat cardiac (ventricular) myocytes (ARVMs) via activation of adenylyl cyclase. beta(2)-ARs may couple to a G(i)-mediated signaling pathway that can oppose the actions of adenylyl cyclase.
METHODS AND RESULTS - In ARVMs, beta-AR stimulation for 24 hours increased the number of apoptotic cells as measured by flow cytometry. beta-AR-stimulated apoptosis was abolished by the beta(1)-AR-selective antagonist CGP 20712A (P<0.05 versus beta-AR stimulation alone) but was potentiated by the beta(2)-AR-selective antagonist ICI 118,551 (P<0.05 versus beta-AR stimulation alone). The muscarinic agonist carbachol also prevented beta-AR-stimulated apoptosis (P<0.05 versus beta-AR stimulation alone), whereas pertussis toxin potentiated the apoptotic action of beta-AR stimulation (P<0.05 versus beta-AR stimulation alone) and prevented the antiapoptotic action of carbachol.
CONCLUSIONS - In ARVMs, stimulation of beta(1)-ARs increases apoptosis via a cAMP-dependent mechanism, whereas stimulation of beta(2)-ARs inhibits apoptosis via a G(i)-coupled pathway. These findings have implications for the pathophysiology and treatment of myocardial failure.