The α1A-adrenergic receptor subtype mediates increased contraction of failing right ventricular myocardium

Patrick M. Cowley, Guanying Wang, Audrey N. Chang, Om Makwana, Philip M. Swigart, David H. Lovett, James T. Stull, Paul C. Simpson, Anthony J. Baker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Dysfunction of the right ventricle (RV) is closely related to prognosis for patients with RV failure. Therefore, strategies to improve failing RV function are significant. In a mouse RV failure model, we previously reported that α1-adrenergic receptor (α1-AR) inotropic responses are increased. The present study determined the roles of both predominant cardiac α1-AR subtypes (α1A and α1B) in upregulated inotropy in failing RV. We used the mouse model of bleomycininduced pulmonary fibrosis, pulmonary hypertension, and RV failure. We assessed the myocardial contractile response in vitro to stimulation of the α1A-subtype (using α1A-subtype-selective agonist A61603) and α1B-subtype [using α1A-subtype knockout mice and nonsubtype selective α1-AR agonist phenylephrine (PE)]. In wildtype nonfailing RV, a negative inotropic effect of α1-AR stimulation with PE (force decreased ≈50%) was switched to a positive inotropic effect (PIE) with bleomycin-induced RV injury. Upregulated inotropy in failing RV occurred with α1A-subtype stimulation (force increased ≈200%), but not with α1B-subtype stimulation (force decreased ≈50%). Upregulated inotropy mediated by the α1A-subtype involved increased activator Ca2+ transients and increased phosphorylation of myosin regulatory light chain (a mediator of increased myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity). In failing RV, the PIE elicited by the α1A-subtype was appreciably less when the α1A-subtype was stimulated in combination with the α1B-subtype, suggesting functional antagonism between α1A- and α1B-subtypes. In conclusion, upregulation of α1-AR inotropy in failing RV myocardium requires the α1A-subtype and is opposed by the α1B-subtype. The α1A subtype might be a therapeutic target to improve the function of the failing RV.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H888-H896
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number5
StatePublished - Sep 3 2015


  • Inotropic
  • Myosin regulatory light chain
  • Right ventricle
  • α-adrenergic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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