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J Cardiovasc Pharmacol. 1998 May;31(5):741-9.

Coronary vasorelaxant effect of levosimendan, a new inodilator with calcium-sensitizing properties.

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Department of Medicine B, Rigshospitalet, University of Copenhagen, Denmark.


We examined the action of levosimendan, a new Ca2+-sensitizing inodilator, on isolated porcine coronary arteries. Vessel rings were studied in isometric myographs. Arterial cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP) levels were determined by radioimmunoassay. Levosimendan (10(-7)-10(-3) M) completely relaxed arteries preconstricted by prostaglandin F2alpha (PGF2alpha) with a pD2 (-logEC50) value of 3.99 +/- 0.05 (n = 6-9 in all experiments). Pretreatment with levosimendan also prevented contraction induced by PGF2alpha. The vasorelaxation produced by levosimendan (10(-7)-10(-3) M) was not attenuated by removal of the endothelium. Levosimendan (10(-7)-10(-3) M) relaxed contractions induced by 30 mM K+ as well as 80 mM K+, whereas the K+ channel opener levcromakalim selectively relaxed contraction induced by 30 mM K+. Neither the cyclooxygenase inhibitor indomethacin nor the beta-adrenoceptor blocker propranolol influenced levosimendan-induced vasorelaxation. The Ca2+-entry blocker isradipine failed to relax arteries precontracted by endothelin-1 in Ca2+-free/EGTA medium. However, levosimendan (10(-7)-3 x 10(-3) M) completely relaxed endothelin-1-induced contractions in this medium. Levosimendan potentiated the relaxant effect of a cAMP-stimulating drug, isoprenaline, but also that of nitroglycerin and isradipine. At a maximal effective concentration, it increased arterial tissue contents of cAMP twofold. In conclusion, levosimendan produces coronary vasorelaxation by a mechanism that seems to be endothelium independent and not mediated by K+ channel opening, Ca2+-entry blockade, release of cyclooxygenase products, or beta-adrenoceptor stimulation. Accumulation of cAMP may possibly participate in vasorelaxation at high concentrations of levosimendan, but a cAMP-independent mechanism seems to be involved at lower concentrations.

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