Muscarinic modulation of the sodium-calcium exchanger in heart failure

Shao Kui Wei, Abdul M. Ruknudin, Matie Shou, John M. McCurley, Stephen U. Hanlon, Eric Elgin, Dan H. Schulze, Mark C.P. Haigney*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

20 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND - The Na-Ca exchanger (NCX) is a critical calcium efflux pathway in excitable cells, but little is known regarding its autonomic regulation. METHODS AND RESULTS - We investigated β-adrenergic receptor and muscarinic receptor regulation of the cardiac NCX in control and heart failure (HF) conditions in atrially paced pigs. NCX current in myocytes from control swine hearts was significantly increased by isoproterenol, and this response was reversed by concurrent muscarinic receptor stimulation with the addition of carbachol, demonstrating "accentuated antagonism." Okadaic acid eliminated the inhibitory effect of carbachol on isoproterenol-stimulated NCX current, indicating that muscarinic receptor regulation operates via protein phosphatase-induced dephosphorylation. However, in myocytes from atrially paced tachycardia-induced HF pigs, the NCX current was significantly larger at baseline but less responsive to isoproterenol compared with controls, whereas carbachol failed to inhibit isoproterenol-stimulated NCX current, and 8-Br-cGMP did not restore muscarinic responsiveness. Protein phosphatase type 1 dialysis significantly reduced NCX current in failing but not control cells, consistent with NCX hyperphosphorylation in HF. Protein phosphatase type 1 levels associated with NCX were significantly depressed in HF pigs compared with control, and total phosphatase activity associated with NCX was significantly decreased. CONCLUSIONS - We conclude that the NCX is autonomically modulated, but HF reduces the level and activity of associated phosphatases; defective dephosphorylation then "locks" the exchanger in a highly active state.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1225-1233
Number of pages9
Issue number10
StatePublished - Mar 2007
Externally publishedYes


  • Calcium
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart failure
  • Receptors, adrenergic, beta
  • Sodium


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