Effects of chronic digitalization on cardiac and renal Na+ + K+-dependent adenosine triphosphate activity and circulating catecholamines in the dog.
To extend our understanding of the mechanism of action of digitalis drugs, we studied electrocardiograms (ECGs), renal function, plasma concentrations of catecholamines, and myocardial and renal Na+ + K+-dependent adenosine triphosphate (Na+ + K+ ATPase) activity in chronically digitalized dogs. Five healthy, male, mongrel dogs received a therapeutic regimen of digoxin (0.1 mg/kg on day 1 in three divided doses followed by 0.025 mg/kg per day) orally for 2-4 months. This resulted in plasma digoxin concentrations of 1.1 to 4.7 ng/ml as determined by radioimmunoassay. Six control dogs received daily gelatin capsules by mouth. ECGs monitored throughout the study showed no changes. Digitalized dogs had elevated plasma norepinephrine concentrations (347 vs. 137 pg/ml in controls) and no change in plasma epinephrine concentrations. Digitalized dogs had elevated glomerular filtration rates (0.74 vs. 0.94 ml/min per g of kidney) without significant changes in renal handling of electrolytes and water. All of the above studies were done without the aid of restraining drugs or infusions. The animals were killed with an overdose of pentobarbital for in vitro studies. In digitalized dogs, microsomal Na+ + K+ ATPase-specific activity was 26 to 33% lower in the renal cortex, medulla, and papilla, and 46% lower in the cardiac left ventricle than in control dogs. Digitalization did not alter the osmolalities of renal tissues. We conclude that chronic reduction Na+ + K+ ATPase activity by one-third dose does not cause abnormalities in renal handling of electrolytes and water, and inhibition of Na+ + K+ ATPase in the left ventricular muscle by one-half is associated with no obvious ECG changes in the dog. Further, elevated plasma norepinephrine concentrations may contribute to both the therapeutic and the toxic effects of digitalis.
- Copyright © 1981 by American Heart Association