Endothelin (ET)-1 is an endogenous vasoconstrictor which modulates norepinephrine (NE) release in myocardial ischemia reperfusion. Recent studies have demonstrated the pro- or anti-arrhythmic effects in reperfusion. The present studies were undertaken to test the hypothesis that ET receptors located in sympathetic nerve terminals modulate NE release associated with reperfusion arrhythmias (ventricular fibrillation; VF). Immunohistochemical studies showed that both ETA and ETB receptors exist in the sympathetic nerve varicosities, which were stained positive for tyrosine hydroxylase (TH) in the left ventricular wall in guinea pigs. Isolated guinea pig hearts were subjected to 20 min of normothermic global ischemia followed by 30 min reperfusion. Exogenously applied ET-1 (0.1 and 1 nM) dose-dependently increased NE release and the duration of VF, but these responses were significantly suppressed with the Na+/H+ exchanger inhibitor, 5-(N-ethyl-N-isopropyl)-amiloride (10 μM).
The ETA receptor antagonist (BQ123, 1 μM) and nonselective ET receptor antagonist (PD142893, 1 μM) significantly attenuated NE release and VF, whereas the ETB receptor antagonist (BQ788,300 nM) markedly elevated NE release but did not affect VF. These studies provide the first evidence that both ETA and ETB receptors, located in the sympathetic nerve varicosities, modulate NE release, at least in part, in association with reperfusion arrhythmias.