Development of pharmacological sensitivity to adenosine analogs in embryonic chick heart: Role of A1 adenosine receptors and adenylyl cyclase inhibition

T. A. Blair, M. Parenti, T. F. Murray

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The developing chick heart was employed as a model system to explore temporal correlations between the onset of pharmacological sensitivity to adenosine analogs and the appearance of A1 adenosine receptors coupled to adenylyl cyclase. A characterization of the developmental profile for adenosine analog-induced negative chronotropic response revealed that isolated atria from 5- and 6-day embryos were unresponsive to adenosine analogs. The onset of pharmacological sensitivity occurred on embryonic day 7, as evidenced by a 27% reduction in atrial beating rate in the presence of 2-chloroadenosine (2-CIA) (30 μM). The sensitivity of embryonic atria to 2-CIA increased continuously from day 7 to day 12 in ovo, when the atria became fully responsive to the negative chronotropic effect of this adenosine analog. In order to evaluate whether the developmental increase in pharmacological sensitivity to 2-CIA reflected changes in the number of A1 adenosine receptors, the ontogenesis of A1 adenosine receptors was assessed using the antagonist radioligand 8-cyclopentyl-1,3-[3H]dipropylxanthine as a probe. Cardiac membranes from day 5 and day 6 embryos possessed approximately one third of the maximum number of A1 adenosine receptors expressed at later embryonic ages. Additionally, agonist/[3H]DPCPX competition curves revealed that the high affinity state receptors comprised a larger proportion of the total receptor population in membranes from day 6 as compared with day 12 embryos. These results suggest that there are pharmacologically inactive A1 receptors in hearts from day 5 and day 6 embryos. The developmental change in A1 receptor-mediated negative chronotropic response paralleled the increase in [3H]DPCPX binding sites from embryonic day 7 to day 10. Thus, a large fractional occupancy of A1 adenosine receptors is required to express negative chronotropy during this period of embryonic development. Studies of the sensitivity of adenylyl cyclase to inhibition by cyclopentyladenosine as a function of ontogenesis revealed that cyclopentyladenosine inhibited basal adenylyl cyclase activity to a similar maximal extent from embryonic day 5 through day 16. The efficacy of cyclopentyladenosine as an inhibitor of adenylyl cyclase activity was, therefore, stable during a developmental period when A1 receptor density increased approximately 3-fold. Hence, only a fraction of the A1 receptors present during embryogenesis need to be coupled to produce a maximum response with respect to adenylyl cyclase inhibition, which is an indication of the presence of spare receptors. Considered together, these results demonstrate that the development of sensitivity to A1 adenosine receptor-mediated negative chronotropic response is not paralleled by developmental changes in adenosine agonist inhibition of adenylyl cyclase. Although the negative chronotropic effect of adenosine has been suggested to be mediated by an inhibition of adenylyl cyclase activity, the lack of temporal correlation between A1 adenosine receptor coupling to adenylyl cyclase and the responsiveness of isolated atria to adenosine analog-induced negative chronotropy argues against this proposal. The appearance of pharmacologically inactive A1 adenosine receptors on embryonic day 5 and day 6 may indicate that the functional coupling of these recognition sites to K+ channels via guanine nucleotide-binding protein is inoperative during this developmental period.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)661-670
Number of pages10
JournalMolecular Pharmacology
Issue number5
StatePublished - 1989
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Molecular Medicine
  • Pharmacology


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