Introduction: The importance of drug-induced effects on the inotropic state of the heart is well known. Unlike hemodynamic and cardiac electrophysiological methods, which have been routinely used in drug safety testing for years, the non-clinical assessment of drug effects on myocardial contractility is used less frequently with no established translation to humans. The goal of these studies was to determine whether assessment of alternate measures of cardiac inotropy could detect drug-induced changes in the contractile state of the heart using drugs known to have clinically relevant positive and negative effects on myocardial contractility. This study also evaluated drug-induced effects on lusitropy (relaxation) parameters of the heart.
Methods: A double 4 × 4 Latin square study design using Beagle dogs (n=8)was conducted. Drugs were administrated orally. Arterial blood pressure (BP), left ventricular pressure (LVP) and the electrocardiogram(ECG) were assessed across different laboratories using the same protocol. Each of the six laboratories studied at least 2 drugs (one positive inotrope (pimobendan or amrinone) and one negative inotrope (itraconazole or atenolol) at 3 doses selected to match clinical exposure data and a vehicle control). Animals were instrumented with an ITS telemetry system or DSI’s D70-PCTP or PhysioTel™Digital system. The data acquisition and analysis systems used were Ponemah, Notocord or EMKA.
Results: The derived inotropic and lusitropic parameters evaluated included peak systolic and end diastolic LVP, LVdP/dtmax, LVdP/dt40, QA interval, LVdP/dtmin and Tau. This study showed that LVdP/dt40 provided essentially identical results to LVdP/dtmax qualifying it as an index to assess drug effects on cardiac contractility. LVdP/dt40 provided an essentially identical assessment to that of LVdP/dtmax. The QA interval did not react sensitively to the drugs tested in this study; however, it did detect large effects and could be useful in early cardiovascular safety studies. The lusitropic parameter, LVdP/dtmin, was modestly decreased, and Tau was increased, by atenolol and itraconazole. At the doses tested, amrinone and pimobendan produced no changes in LVdP/dtmin while Tau was modestly increased. The drugs did not produce effects on BP, HR or the ECG at the doses tested. Blood samples
were drawn to confirm drug exposures predicted from independent pharmacokinetic studies.
Discussion: These findings indicate that this experimental model can accurately and consistently detect changes in cardiac contractility, across multiple sites and instrumentation systems. While LVdP/dt40 produced responses similar to LVdP/dtmax, the QA interval and lusitropic parameters LVdP/dtmin and Tau were not markedly changed at the dose of drugs tested. Further studies with drugs that affect early diastolic relaxation through calcium handling are needed to better evaluate drug-induced changes on lusitropic properties of the heart.
Available Open Access here.