Endothelial cells regulate cardiac contractility

Claudio Ramaciotti, Angela Sharkey, George McClellan, Saul Winegrad

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

67 Scopus citations


Endothelial cells lining the lumen of blood vessels contain the receptors for many substances that alter the contractile tone of smooth muscle in the walls of the blood vessels. In response to their interaction with the signal substances, the endothelial cells release vasoactive factors that modify the contractile state of the vascular smooth muscle. This study was conducted to determine if endothelial cells can also modulate the contraction of cardiac muscle cells and contribute to the physiological regulation of the heart. The venous effluent from the coronary circulation of an isolated perfused working heart was reoxygenated and used to superfuse a trabecula isolated from the right ventricle of another heart. The peak tension and the duration of the contraction of the trabecula were reversibly altered by the effluent fluid. The change in the contraction of the trabecula during its exposure to coronary effluent was inhibited by selectively damaging the endothelial cells in the trabecula before the application of the coronary effluent. The magnitude and direction of the effect of the coronary venous effluent were sensitive to the metabolic and mechanical conditions under which the isolated perfused heart was contracting at the time the effluent was collected. These observations indicate that cardiac tissue can release a substance or substances into the coronary circulation that induce the production of cardioactive factors by endothelial cells.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)4033-4036
Number of pages4
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number9
StatePublished - 1992


  • Cardiac autoregulation
  • Cardiac energetics
  • Endothelial factors
  • Endothelium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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