Cardiac β-adrenergic receptors, which respond to neuronally released and circulating catecholamines, are important regulators of cardiac function. Congestive heart failure, a common clinical condition, is associated with a number of alterations in the activation and deactivation of β-adrenergic receptor pathways. Studies with failing hearts from humans and animals indicate that such alterations include changes in the expression or function of β-adrenergic receptors, G-proteins, adenylyl cyclases, and G-protein receptor kinases. The net effect of these alterations is the substantial blunting of β-adrenergic receptor-mediated cardiac response. An important unanswered question is whether the loss of cardiac β-adrenergic receptor responsiveness is a contributing cause, or a result, of ventricular dysfunction. Even though this question remains unanswered, the concept of targeting the β-adrenergic pathway in the failing heart is becoming increasingly popular and several new therapeutic strategies are in development.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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