This study investigated the effects of chronic β-blockade on the pathophysiology of heart failure following induction of aortic regurgitation (AR). Nine rabbits with AR were administered propranolol continuously for 7 days (AR+P), 8 rabbits with AR received vehicle for the same period (AR+C), and 7 rabbits underwent sham operation. Cardiac output was lower and the left-ventricular end-diastolic pressure was higher in AR+C than in sham-operated rabbits, but there was no difference in the right-ventricular end-diastolic pressure between the two groups. Down-regulation of β-adrenoceptors was observed in the left ventricle, but not in the right ventricle. All of these variables were reversed in AR+P. In left-ventricular failure produced by AR, (1) the augmentation of adrenergic drive occurred selectively in the left ventricle, and (2) propranolol blunted adrenergic drive and played a protective role against myocardial damage.
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