Effects of glucagon on cardiac cyclic nucleotides in the hypoxic heart.

R. W. Busuttil, R. J. Paddock, W. J. George

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Isolated rat hearts were perfused with a subinotropic concentration of glucagon during an hypoxic perfusion to determine whether glucagon would enhance recovery upon reoxygenation. Rat hearts were divided into two groups: 1) those perfused with glucose-free Tyrode's solution and 2) those perfused with Tyrode's solution containing glucose. During 3 min of hypoxic exposure, untreated hearts and hearts perfused with glucagon both demonstrated a dramatic decrease in contractile force regardless of whether glucose was included in the medium. However, when glucose was present in the perfusion medium cardiac performance was better during both hypoxia and the period of reoxygenation. Furthermore, during reoxygenation, the recovery of contractile force was significantly greater in glucagon-perfused hearts than in controls. Cardiac levels of cyclic AMP and cyclic GMP were monitored at various periods of hypoxic exposure to test the existence of a correlation between the concentrations of these cyclic nucleotides and cardiac performance. During reoxygenation of untreated hearts, the hearts perfused with glucose-free medium attained 45-50 percent of the contractile force seen in glucagon-treated hearts. This enhanced recovery in the glucagon-treated hearts was associated with decreases in cyclic GMP levels at the end of the hypoxic period. At this time, the cyclic GMP levels in the glucagon-treated hearts were only 25-55 percent of the levels seen in untreated hearts that were also exposed to hypoxia. The effect of glucagon on cyclic AMP content in untreated hearts and in hearts receiving glucagon was not significantly different at 3 min of hypoxia. These studies suggest that subinotropic concentrations of glucagon exert a protective effect on the hypoxic rat heart that is not related to the direct inotropic properties of this hormone but which may involve a modulation in cardiac cyclic GMP availability.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)461-473
Number of pages13
JournalRecent advances in studies on cardiac structure and metabolism
StatePublished - 1976

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Medicine(all)


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