Carvedilol is the current β-blocker of choice for suppressing ventricular tachyarrhythmia (VT). However, carvedilol's benefits are dose-limited, attributable to its potent β-blocking activity that can lead to bradycardia and hypotension. The clinically used carvedilol is a racemic mixture of β-blocking S-carvedilol and non-β-blocking R-carvedilol. We recently reported that novel non-β-blocking carvedilol analogues are effective in suppressing arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves and stress-induced VT without causing bradycardia. Thus, the non-β-blocking R-carvedilol enantiomer may also possess this favourable anti-arrhythmic property. To test this possibility, we synthesized R-carvedilol and assessed its effect on Ca2+ release and VT. Like racemic carvedilol, R-carvedilol directly reduces the open duration of the cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2), suppresses spontaneous Ca2+ oscillations in human embryonic kidney (HEK) 293 cells, Ca2+ waves in cardiomyocytes in intact hearts and stress-induced VT in mice harbouring a catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT)-causing RyR2 mutation. Importantly, R-carvedilol did not significantly alter heart rate or blood pressure. Therefore, the non-β-blocking R-carvedilol enantiomer represents a very promising prophylactic treatment for Ca2+- triggered arrhythmia without the bradycardia and hypotension often associated with racemic carvedilol. Systematic clinical assessments of R-carvedilol as a new anti-arrhythmic agent may be warranted.

You do not currently have access to this content.