Heart Vessels 2016 Aug 19;31(8):1380-8. Epub 2015 Dec 19.
Department of Anesthesiology and Intensive Care Medicine, Campus Charité Mitte and Campus Virchow-Klinikum, Charité - Universitätsmedizin Berlin, Charitéplatz 1, 10117, Berlin, Germany.
Cardiac function is one important determinant to maintain tissue oxygenation and is thus highly regulated. In this context, it is interesting that centrally mediated opioidergic influence on cardiac function has long been known. Only recently, KOR and DOR have been found to be expressed in healthy left ventricular myocardium in rats and colocalized with parts of the excitation-contraction-coupling system. However, several comments in literature exist doubting the existence of MOR in cardiac tissue. We, therefore, aimed to detect MOR in rat left ventricular cardiomyocytes, and to evaluate whether MOR and POMC are regulated during heart failure. After IRB approval, heart failure was induced using a modified infrarenal aortocaval fistula (ACF) in male Wistar rats. All rats of the control and ACF group were characterized by their morphometrics and hemodynamics and the existence of MOR and POMC was investigated by means of radioligand binding, double immunofluorescence confocal analysis, RT-PCR and Western blot. Membrane MOR selective binding sites were detected in the left ventricular myocardium, however, they were lower in abundance than KOR- and DOR-specific binding sites and B max of MOR could not be determined. In left ventricular cardiomyocytes, MOR colocalized with parts of the excitation-coupling mechanism, e.g., Cav1.2 of the cell membrane and invaginated T-tubules as well as the ryanodine receptor of the sarcoplasmatic reticulum. More importantly, MOR strongly colocalized with mitochondria of left ventricular cardiomyocytes. Volume overload was not associated with an altered expression of MOR and POMC on both mRNA and protein level. These findings provide evidence for the existence of MOR on the cell membrane, sarcoplasmatic reticulum and mitochondria in left ventricular cardiomyocytes in rats. However, heart failure does not result in an altered expression of the cardiac MOR-opioid system. Thus, MOR agonist treatment-commonly used in the clinical setting-might directly affect cardiac function, which needs to be evaluated in greater detail in the near future.