Receptors, signalling and cardiac pharmacology
Patients with heart failure (HF) have high morbidity and poor prognosis. To develop new treatments, better understanding of the mechanisms of myocardial function in normal and failing hearts and of HF development is needed. Several receptors (e.g. beta-adrenoceptors (βAR), 5-HT4 serotonin receptors) increase cardiac contractile function through the cAMP signalling system. This response is energetically expensive and therefore detrimental in the long term and should be avoided in HF. Blocking βARs with betablockers is therefore important in HF treatment. While increased understanding can provide novel ways to reduce these signalling pathways, understanding of other types of cardiac signalling may reveal novel methods to improve cardiac function in heart failure. Recent development in understanding of receptor function has important implications also for understanding and treatment of other diseases.