Negative inotropic influence of hyperosmotic solutions on cardiac muscle

K. Wildenthal, R. C. Adcock, J. S. Crie, G. H. Templeton, J. T. Willerson

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter

15 Scopus citations


In cardiac muscle, moderate degrees of hyperosmolality of the type encountered physiologically or clinically (i.e., less than 200 mosM above control) characteristically exert a positive inotropic effect, which presumably is mediated by increased Ca 2+ availability for binding to troponin. In contrast, skeletal muscle displays significant contractile depression on exposure to hyperosmotic solutions, even at mild degrees of hypertonicity. To determine whether a similar potential for hyperosmolarity induced depression also exists in cardiac muscle, right ventricular papillary muscles from cats were exposed to hypertonic solutions of mannitol or sucrose under circumstances in which positive inotropic effects were precluded by prior exposure to a bathing solution of 4.0 mM Ca 2+ and paired electrical stimulation to maximize intracellular Ca 2+ before addition of the hyperosmotic substances. In contrast to their usual positive inotropic effects, hypertonic solutions under these conditions caused cardiac depression at all osmolarities tested. Developed tension and its maximal rate of development (dT/dt) decreased by 18% at 50 mosM above control, by 30% at 100 mosM, by 36% at 150 mosM, and by 42% at 200 mosM (P<0.01 for all). Time to peak tension and resting tension were not changed significantly. When the muscles were returned to control solutions, tension development also returned toward normal. The data are compatible with the hypothesis that, within the range tested, all degrees of hyperosmolarity exert a significant negative inotropic influence on cardiac muscle, as is true in skeletal muscle; manifestation of this effect of increased tonicity normally would be obscured at low degrees of hyperosmolality, however, by an overriding positive influence that is absent in skeletal muscle.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationAmerican Journal of Physiology
Number of pages5
StatePublished - 1975

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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