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Eur J Cell Biol. 2009 Apr;88(4):227-41. doi: 10.1016/j.ejcb.2008.11.001. Epub 2009 Jan 6.

CGRP-alpha responsiveness of adult rat ventricular cardiomyocytes from normotensive and spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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  • 1Physiologisches Institut, Justus-Liebig-Universit├Ąt, Aulweg 129, D-35392 Giessen, Germany.


Calcitonin gene-related peptide (CGRP)-alpha is expressed in heart ventricles in sensory nerves and cardiomyocytes. It modifies inotropism and induces ischaemic preconditioning. This study investigates the effect of CGRP-alpha on the contractile responsiveness of isolated adult ventricular rat cardiomyocytes and the effect of chronic hypertension on this interaction. Cardiomyocytes were isolated and paced at 0.5-2.0 Hz. Cell shortening was recorded via a line camera with a reading frame of 500 Hz. CGRP-alpha exerted a dual effect on cardiomyocytes with a positive contractile effect at 10nM and a negative contractile effect at 10 pM. CGRP-alpha(8-37), a calcitonin receptor-like receptor (CRLR) antagonist, attenuated the positive contractile effect. H89, a protein kinase A antagonist, converted the positive contractile effect into a negative contractile effect. The negative contractile effect was converted again back to a positive contractile effect in the presence of l-nitro arginine. In cardiomyocytes isolated from spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR) the mRNA expression of CRLR and the receptor-associated modifier protein (RAMP)-2 were lower. However, on the protein level CLRL was up-regulated, RAMP2 expression remained unchanged, and eNOS expression was down-regulated in these cells. These cells responded with a pure positive contractile response. In Langendorff preparations, CGRP-alpha slightly reduced the rate pressure product in hearts from normotensive rats but it caused an increase in hearts from SHR. In conclusion, it is shown that CGRP-alpha exerts dual effects on cardiomyocytes favouring the negative contractile effect at very low concentrations. This effect is compensated in chronic pressure-overloaded hearts and converted into a positive inotropism.

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