Cardiac injury and gene expression induced by catecholamine treatment is largely reversible

Catecholamines are commonly used as therapeutic drugs in intensive care medicine to maintain sufficient organ perfusion during shock. However, excessive or sustained adrenergic activation drives detrimental cardiac remodeling and may lead to heart failure. Whether catecholamine treatment in absence of heart failure causes persistent cardiac injury, is uncertain. In this experimental study, we assessed the course of cardiac remodeling and recovery during and after prolonged catecholamine treatment and investigated the molecular mechanisms involved.

The results from this study show that prolonged catecholamine exposure induces adverse cardiac remodeling and gene expression before the onset of left ventricular dysfunction which has implications for clinical practice. The observed changes depend on the type of stimulus and are largely reversible after discontinuation of catecholamine treatment. Crosstalk with endothelin signaling and the downstream transcription factors identified in this study provide new opportunities for more targeted therapeutic approaches that may help to separate desired from undesired effects of catecholamine treatment.

Bode, C., Preissl, S., Hein, L., Lother A. Catecholamine treatment induces reversible heart injury and cardiomyocyte gene expression. ICMx 12, 48 (2024).