Cardiac Resynchronization Therapy Restores Sympathovagal Balance in the Failing Heart by Differential Remodeling of Cholinergic Signaling
Rationale: Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT) is the only heart failure (HF) therapy documented to improve left ventricular (LV) function and reduce mortality. The underlying mechanisms are incompletely understood. While β-adrenergic signaling has been studied extensively, the effect of CRT on cholinergic signaling is unexplored.
Objective: We hypothesized that remodeling of cholinergic signaling plays an important role in the aberrant calcium signaling and depressed contractile and β-adrenergic responsiveness in dyssynchronous HF (DHF) that are restored by CRT.
Methods and Results: Canine tachypaced DHF and CRT models were generated to interrogate responses specific to dyssynchronous vs. resynchronized ventricular contraction during hemodynamic decompensation. Echocardiographic, electrocardiographic and invasive hemodynamic data were collected from normal controls, DHF and CRT models. LV tissue was used for biochemical analyses and functional measurements (calcium transient, sarcomere shortening) from isolated myocytes (N=42-104 myocytes/model; 6-9 hearts/model). Human LV myocardium was obtained for biochemical analyses from explanted failing (N=18) and non-failing (N=7) hearts. The M2 subtype of muscarinic acetylcholine receptors (M2-mAChR) was upregulated in human and canine HF compared to non-failing controls. CRT attenuated the increased M2-mAChR expression and Gαi-coupling, and enhanced M3-mAChR expression in association with enhanced calcium cycling, sarcomere shortening and β-adrenergic responsiveness. Despite model-dependent remodeling, cholinergic stimulation completely abolished isoproterenol-induced triggered activity in both DHF and CRT myocytes.
Conclusions: Remodeling of cholinergic signaling is a critical pathological component of human and canine HF. Differential remodeling of cholinergic signaling represents a novel mechanism for enhancing sympathovagal balance with CRT and may identify new targets for treatment of systolic HF.
- muscarinic agonists/blocker
- muscarinic receptor
- cardiac resynchronization therapy
- heart failure
- arrhythmia (mechanisms)
- vagal stimulation
- autonomic nervous system
- Received September 14, 2014.
- Revision received February 22, 2015.
- Accepted March 2, 2015.