Background: Mitochondria (MITO) of failed human hearts and hearts of dogs with experimental heart failure (HF) manifest structural and functional abnormalities characterized by hyperplasia and reduced organelle size and reduced respiration. These abnormalities lead to reduced ATP synthesis that adversely impacts LV function. We previously showed that chronic therapy (3 months) with Bendavia (MTP-131), a novel mitochondria-targeting peptide, improves LV systolic function in dogs with heart failure (HF), reverses MITO abnormalities and normalizes mitochondria ATP synthesis in myocardium from Bendavia-treated HF dogs. In the present study we examined the direct effects of Bendavia on mitochondria ADP-stimulated state 3 respiration in freshly isolated cardiomyocytes from dogs with advanced chronic HF.
Methods: Cardiomyocytes were isolated from LV free wall of 3 untreated dogs with HF produced by intracoronary microembolizations (LV ejection fraction <30%). A standard collagenase-based enzymatic process was used for isolation that yielded ~70% viable rod-shaped cardiomyocytes that excluded trypan blue. Equal aliquotes of cardiomyocytes were incubated in 0, 0.01, 0.10, 1.0 and 10 μM concentration of Bendavia for one hour at 37°C. At the end of incubation, ADP-stimulated state-3 respiration was measured using a Clark electrode system and quatified in nAtom Oxygen/min/mg protein.
Results: State-3 respiration in the absence of Bendavia (Vehicle-Control) was 248±9 nAtom Oxygen/min/mg protein. Compared to vehicle-control, incubation of failing cardiomyocytes with Bendavia significantly increased state-3 respiration to 303±33 at 0.01 μM, p<0.05; 405±39 at 0.10 μM, p<0.05; 371±28 at 1.0 μM, p<0.05; and 346±29 at 10.0 μM, p<0.05.
Conclusions: Results of this study indicate that the effects of Bendavia on mitochondrial respiration in cardiomyocytes is direct and not a consequence of improved global LV structure or function. Furthermore, the results indicate that the improvement in mitochondrial respiration after treatment with Bendavia can occur early after initiation of therapy (within one hour) and is dose-dependent up to concentrations of 0.10 μM.