Inhibitory G protein activity (Gi) and nitric oxide (NO) modulate muscarinic-cholinergic (MC) inhibition of cardiac beta-adrenergic inotropic responses. We hypothesized that Gi mediates MC-NO synthase (NOS) signal transduction. Isoproterenol (0.2-0.8 microg/min) and acetylcholine (1 microM) were administered to isolated perfused rat hearts pretreated with saline (controls; n = 8) or pertussis toxin (PT; 30 microg/kg intraperitoneally 3 d before study; n = 20). PT abrogated in vitro ADP-ribosylation of Gi protein alpha subunit(s) indicating near-total decrease in Gi protein function. Isoproterenol increased peak +dP/dt in both control (peak isoproterenol effect: +2, 589+/-293 mmHg/s, P < 0.0001) and PT hearts (+3,879+/-474 mmHg/s, P < 0.0001). Acetylcholine reversed isoproterenol inotropy in controls (108+/-21% reduction of +dP/dt response, P = 0.001), but had no effect in PT hearts. In controls, NG-monomethyl-L-arginine (100 microM) reduced basal +dP/dt, augmented isoproterenol +dP/dt (peak effect: +4,634+/-690 mmHg/s, P < 0.0001), and reduced the MC inhibitory effect to 69+/-8% (P < 0.03 vs. baseline). L-arginine (100 M) had no effect in controls but in PT hearts decreased basal +dP/dt by 1, 426+/-456 mmHg/s (P < 0.005), downward-shifted the isoproterenol concentration-effect curve, and produced a small MC inhibitory effect (27+/-4% reduction, P < 0.05). This enhanced response to NO substrate was associated with increased NOS III protein abundance, and a three- to fivefold increase in in vitro calcium-dependent NOS activity. Neomycin (1 microM) inhibition of phospholipase C did not reverse L-arginine enhancement of MC inhibitory effects. These data support a primary role for Gi in MC receptor signal transduction with NOS in rat heart, and demonstrate regulatory linkage between Gi and NOS III protein levels.


J M Hare, B Kim, N A Flavahan, K M Ricker, X Peng, L Colman, R G Weiss, D A Kass


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