Alpha-1-adrenergic receptors (ARs) are G protein-coupled receptors activated by catecholamines. The alpha-1A and alpha-1B subtypes are expressed in mouse and human myocardium, whereas the alpha-1D protein is found only in coronary arteries. There are far fewer alpha-1-ARs than beta-ARs in the nonfailing heart, but their abundance is maintained or increased in the setting of heart failure, which is characterized by pronounced chronic elevation of catecholamines and beta-AR dysfunction. Decades of evidence from gain and loss-of-function studies in isolated cardiac myocytes and numerous animal models demonstrate important adaptive functions for cardiac alpha-1-ARs to include physiological hypertrophy, positive inotropy, ischemic preconditioning, and protection from cell death. Clinical trial data indicate that blocking alpha-1-ARs is associated with incident heart failure in patients with hypertension. Collectively, these findings suggest that alpha-1-AR activation might mitigate the well-recognized toxic effects of beta-ARs in the hyperadrenergic setting of chronic heart failure. Thus, exogenous cardioselective activation of alpha-1-ARs might represent a novel and viable approach to the treatment of heart failure.
Copyright 2014 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.
- 1-adrenergic receptors
- heart failure
- ischemic preconditioning