Dilated cardiomyopathy and sudden death resulting from constitutive activation of protein kinase A

Christopher L. Antos, Norbert Frey, Steven O. Marx, Steven Reiken, Marta Gaburjakova, James A. Richardson, Andrew R. Marks, Eric N. Olson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

230 Scopus citations


β-Adrenergic receptor (βAR) signaling, which elevates intracellular cAMP and enhances cardiac contractility, is severely impaired in the failing heart. Protein kinase A (PKA) is activated by cAMP, but the long-term physiological effect of PKA activation on cardiac function is unclear. To investigate the consequences of chronic cardiac PKA activation in the absence of upstream events associated with βAR signaling, we generated transgenic mice that expressed the catalytic subunit of PKA in the heart. These mice developed dilated cardiomyopathy with reduced cardiac contractility, arrhythmias, and susceptibility to sudden death. As seen in human heart failure, these abnormalities correlated with PKA-mediated hyperphosphorylation of the cardiac ryanodine receptor/Ca2+-release channel, which enhances Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum, and phospholamban, which regulates the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase. These findings demonstrate a specific role for PKA in the pathogenesis of heart failure, independent of more proximal events in βAR signaling, and support the notion that PKA activity is involved in the adverse effects of chronic βAR signaling.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)997-1004
Number of pages8
JournalCirculation research
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 23 2001


  • Dilated cardiomyopathy
  • Protein kinase A
  • Transgenic mice

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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