The Modulation of Cardiac Contractile Function by the Pharmacological and Toxicological Effects of Urocortin2

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Abstract

Urocortin2 (Ucn2) has been revealed to enhance cardiac function in heart failure. However, the pharmacological and toxicological effects of Ucn2 on cardiomyocytes are incompletely understood. In this study, we investigated the possible mechanisms of Ucn2 on mediating the contractility of cardiomyocytes. Mechanical properties and intracellular Ca2+ properties were measured in isolated cardiomyocytes from different treatment groups. The stress signaling was evaluated using Western blot. The results demonstrated that Ucn2 induced maximal velocity of shortening (+dL/dt), peak height, peak shortening (PS) amplitude, maximal velocity of relengthening (−dL/dt), accompanied by a significant rise in intracellular Ca2+ level and a fall of the mean time constant of Ca2+ transient decay (Tau) in WT cardiomyocytes. However, these effects were abolished by preincubation of type 2 CRF receptors (CRFR2) antagonist anti-sauvagine 30 (a-SVG-30). We also found that Ucn2 treatment activated the AMPK pathway in isolated cardiomyocytes via CRFR2. Furthermore, Ucn2 induced protein kinase A (PKA) and phospholamban (PLN) phosphorylation. Pretreatment of PKA inhibitor H89 reduced the inotropic and lusitropic effects of Ucn2 as well as decreased the intracellular Ca2+ load and slowed down the Ca2+ transient decay. We also showed that preincubation of Compound C, an inhibitor of AMPK, inhibited the phosphorylation of PKA and the intracellular Ca2+ level in cardiomyocytes without affecting the contractile function and the Tau of cardiomyocytes. Taken together, it suggests that Ucn2 facilitate the contractility of cardiomyocytes via activating both AMPK and PKA.

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