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Basic Res Cardiol. 1992 Jan-Feb;87(1):2-11.

Inotropic actions of eicosanoids.


Eicosanoids (prostaglandins, leukotrienes, thromboxane A2 and other metabolites of C-20 polyunsaturated fatty acids) have numerous effects in the cardiovascular system. Direct inotropic actions have been repeatedly described, but appear in only very few cases to be due to direct modification of the inotropic state of the heart. Specific eicosanoid receptors have been identified on the surface of the sarcolemmal membrane. Signal transduction pathways in the cardiac myocyte involve the adenylate cyclase/cAMP system or stimulation of the phospholipase C/IP3 pathway. In general, concentrations of eicosanoids which affect myocardial contractility are higher as the response is less predictable than the effects on platelet function or vessel tone. Therefore, eicosanoid-induced extracardiac effects may be superimposed to more direct changes in the contractile state of the intact heart in vitro or in vivo. In contrast to non-failing hearts, there is a significant improvement of the contractile function in contractile failure ("stunning", ischemia, congestive heart failure) by vasodilating prostaglandins (e.g., PGI2). The mechanism of this action is still unknown.

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