Ornithine decarboxylase (ODC), the first enzyme of polyamine metabolism, is rapidly upregulated in response to agents that induce a pathological cardiac hypertrophy. Transgenic mice overexpressing ODC in the heart (MHC-ODC mice) experience a much more dramatic left ventricular hypertrophy in response to β-adrenergic stimulation with isoproterenol (ISO) compared to wild-type (WT) controls. ISO also induced arginase activity in transgenic hearts but not in controls. The current work studies the cooperation between the cardiac polyamines and L-arginine (L-Arg) availability in MHC-ODC mice. Although ISO-induced hypertrophy is well-compensated, MHC-ODC mice administered L-Arg along with ISO showed a rapid onset of systolic dysfunction and died within 48 h. Myocytes isolated from MHC-ODC mice administered L-Arg/ISO exhibited reduced contractility and altered calcium transients, suggesting an alteration in [Ca 2+] homeostasis, and abbreviated action potential duration, which may contribute to arrhythmogenesis. The already elevated levels of spermidine and spermine were not further altered in MHC-ODC hearts by L-Arg/ISO treatment, suggesting alternative L-Arg utilization pathways lead to dysregulation of intracellular calcium. MHCODC mice administered an arginase inhibitor (Nor-NOHA) along with ISO died almost as rapidly as L-Arg/ISO-treated mice, while the iNOS inhibitor S-methyl-isothiourea (SMT) was strongly protective against L-Arg/ISO. These results point to the induction of arginase as a protective response to β-adrenergic stimulation in the setting of high polyamines. Further, NO generated by exogenously supplied L-Arg may contribute to the lethal consequences of L-Arg/ISO treatment. Since considerable variations in human cardiac polyamine and L-Arg content are likely, it is possible that alterations in these factors may influence myocyte contractility.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Clinical Biochemistry
- Organic Chemistry