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Journal of molecular and cellular cardiology

Role and mechanism of subcellular Ca2+ distribution in the action of two inotropic agents with different toxicity.


PMID 21354172

Abstract

Pro-arrhythmic risk strongly limits the therapeutic value of current inotropic interventions. Istaroxime (previously PST2744) is a novel inotropic agent, significantly less pro-arrhythmic than digoxin that, in addition to block Na(+)/K(+) pump, stimulates sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) ATPase (SERCA2). Here we compare istaroxime and digoxin effects to further address the role of SR modulation in reducing the toxicity associated with Na(+)/K(+) pump blockade. In murine ventricular myocytes both compounds increased cell twitch (inotropy) in a concentration-dependent fashion. At high concentrations digoxin, but not istaroxime, induced unstimulated contractions, a sign of pro-arrhythmic toxicity. To evaluate the mechanism of this difference, we compared the two drugs at concentrations exerting equal inotropy but different toxicity. At these concentrations: (1) the two drugs equally inhibited the Na(+)/K(+) pump; (2) digoxin induced larger increases in resting Ca(2+) and in diastolic Ca(2+) during pacing; (3) neither drug affected the relationship between RyR-mediated SR Ca(2+) leak and Ca(2+) content; (4) istaroxime, but not digoxin, enhanced SR Ca(2+) reuptake rate. In conclusion, digoxin toxicity was associated to larger accumulation of cytosolic Ca(2+), which did not result from RyR facilitation, but which might ultimately induce it to promote unstimulated Ca(2+) release. The lower toxicity of Na(+)/K(+) pump blockade by istaroxime may thus reflect improved Ca(2+) confinement within the SR, likely to result from concomitant SERCA2 stimulation.