• atenolol;
  • propranolol;
  • myofibrillar ATPase;
  • myosin heavy chain;
  • troponin I


Although β-adrenoceptor (β-AR) blockade is an important mode of therapy for congestive heart failure (CHF), subcellular mechanisms associated with its beneficial effects are not clear. Three weeks after inducing myocardial infarction (MI), rats were treated daily with or without 20 and 75 mg/kg atenolol, a selective β1-AR antagonist, or propranolol, a non-selective β-AR antagonist, for 5 weeks. Sham operated rats served as controls. All animals were assessed haemodynamically and echocardiographically and the left ventricle (LV) was processed for the determination of myofibrillar ATPase activity, α- and β-myosin heavy chain (MHC) isoforms and gene expression as well as cardiac troponin I (cTnI) phosphorylation. Both atenolol and propranolol at 20 and 75 mg/kg doses attenuated cardiac hypertrophy and lung congestion in addition to increasing LV ejection fraction and LV systolic pressure as well as decreasing heart rate, LV end-diastolic pressure and LV diameters in the infarcted animals. Treatment of infarcted animals with these agents also attenuated the MI-induced depression in myofibrillar Ca2+-stimulated ATPase activity and phosphorylated cTnI protein content. The MI-induced decrease in α-MHC and increase in β-MHC protein content were attenuated by both atenolol and propranolol at low and high doses; however, only high dose of propranolol was effective in mitigating changes in the gene expression for α-MHC and β-MHC. Our results suggest that improvement of cardiac function by β-AR blockade in CHF may be associated with attenuation of myofibrillar remodelling.