The role of β-adrenergic system remodeling in human heart failure: A mechanistic investigation

Maria T. Mora, Jingqi Q.X. Gong, Eric A. Sobie, Beatriz Trenor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

7 Scopus citations


β-adrenergic receptor antagonists (β-blockers) are extensively used to improve cardiac performance in heart failure (HF), but the electrical improvements with these clinical treatments are not fully understood. The aim of this study was to analyze the electrophysiological effects of β-adrenergic system remodeling in heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and the underlying mechanisms. We used a combined mathematical model that integrated β-adrenergic signaling with electrophysiology and calcium cycling in human ventricular myocytes. HF remodeling, both in the electrophysiological and signaling systems, was introduced to quantitatively analyze changes in electrophysiological properties due to the stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors in failing myocytes. We found that the inotropic effect of β-adrenergic stimulation was reduced in HF due to the altered Ca2+ dynamics resulting from the combination of structural, electrophysiological and signaling remodeling. Isolated cells showed proarrhythmic risk after sympathetic stimulation because early afterdepolarizations appeared, and the vulnerability was greater in failing myocytes. When analyzing coupled cells, β-adrenergic stimulation reduced transmural repolarization gradients between endocardium and epicardium in normal tissue, but was less effective at reducing these gradients after HF remodeling. The comparison of the selective activation of β-adrenergic isoforms revealed that the response to β2-adrenergic receptors stimulation was blunted in HF while β1-adrenergic receptors downstream effectors regulated most of the changes observed after sympathetic stimulation. In conclusion, this study was able to reproduce an altered β-adrenergic activity on failing myocytes and to explain the mechanisms involved. The derived predictions could help in the treatment of HF and guide in the design of future experiments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)14-25
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Apr 2021


  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart failure
  • Simulation
  • β-Adrenergic signaling


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