Mechanisms for Aldosterone and Spironolactone-Induced Positive Inotropic Actions in the Rat Heart

Document Type


Publication Date

Fall 10-4-2004


Previously, we reported that aldosterone and spironolactone have inotropic effects in the isolated perfused heart. To address the mechanisms underlying these inotropic effects, we examined the effects of aldosterone and spironolactone on isolated cardiac myocyte shortening, intracellular calcium ([Ca+2]i), pHi, and calcium-dependent actinomyosin ATPase activity. Aldosterone significantly increased shortening in cardiac myocytes (8.0±1.0 versus 16.0±1.3%, P<0.01) but neither diastolic [Ca+2]i (61.0±1.1 versus 66.0±4.4 nmol/L) nor peak systolic [Ca+2]i (302±11 versus 304±17 nmol/L) was affected. Spironolactone-increased shortening was also not coupled with changes in peak systolic calcium; however, diastolic calcium was significantly increased by spironolactone. Aldosterone, but not spironolactone, increased pHi from 7.23±0.03 to 7.59±0.02 (P<0.01); this was completely blocked by coadministration of 100 μmol/L of ethyl-isopropyl amiloride (EIPA), an inhibitor of the Na+/H+ exchanger (P<0.01). Consistent with this finding, aldosterone increased cytosolic sodium concentration ([Na+]i) from 9.2±0.15 to 11.4±0.2 mmol/L and produced a leftward shift in the pCa ATPase curve (pCa=5.82±0.02 versus 6.35±0.02, P<0.01) without affecting maximal myosin ATPase activity. Conversely, spironolactone, but not aldosterone, significantly increases maximal actomyosin ATPase activity (837±59 versus 355±52 nmol inorganic phosphate (Pi) · min−1 · g tissue−1). Collectively, these data strongly suggest that the inotropic actions of aldosterone and spironolactone are caused by different mechanisms of action. Aldosterone appeared to increase inotropy primarily through increased cytosolic pH, whereas spironolactone increased myosin ATPase calcium sensitivity and diastolic calcium concentration.


Copyright © 2004 American Heart Association, Inc.

doi: 10.1161/01.HYP.0000144466.11568.7e