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Shock. 2006 Jan;25(1):43-9.

Toll-like receptor 4, nitric oxide, and myocardial depression in endotoxemia.

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Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Institute of Physiology II, Universitätsklinikum Bonn, D-53111 Bonn, Germany.


The molecular mechanisms that mediate gram-negative sepsis-associated myocardial dysfunction remain elusive. Myocardial expression of inflammatory mediators is Toll-like receptor 4 (TLR4) dependent. However, it remains to be elucidated whether TLR4, expressed on cardiac myocytes, mediates impairment of cardiac contractility after lipopolysaccharide (LPS) application. Cardiac myocyte contractility, measured as sarcomere shortening of isolated cardiac myocytes from C3H/HeJ (with nonfunctional TLR4) and C3H/HeN (control), were recorded at stimulation frequencies between 0.5 and 10 Hz and after incubation with 1 and 10 mug/mL LPS for up to 8 h. Control cells treated with LPS were investigated with and without a competitive LPS inhibitor (E5564) and a specific inducible nitric oxide synthase (iNOS) inhibitor S-methylisothiourea. In control mice, LPS reduced sarcomere shortening amplitude and prolonged duration of relaxation, whereas sarcomere shortening of C3H/HeJ cells was insensitive to LPS. NFkappaB and iNOS were upregulated after LPS application in control mice compared with C3H/HeJ. Inhibition of TLR4 by E5564 as well as inhibition of iNOS prevented the influence of LPS on contractile activity in control myocytes. LPS-dependent suppression of cardiac myocyte contractility was significantly blunted in C3H/HeJ mice. Competitive inhibition of functional TLR4 with E5564 protects cardiac myocyte contractility against LPS. These findings suggest that TLR4, expressed on cardiac myocytes, contributes to sepsis-induced myocardial dysfunction. E5564, currently under investigation in two clinical phase II trials, seems to be a new therapeutic option for the treatment of myocardial dysfunction in sepsis associated with endotoxemia.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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