We investigated the effect of an increase in the left-atrial filling pressure on the rate of left-atrial protein synthesis in the left-side-perfused working rat heart preparation of Taegtmeyer, Hems & Krebs [(1980) Biochem. J. 186, 701-711]. An increase in filling pressure (preload) at a constant aortic pressure (afterload) increased both the intra-atrial pressure and the atrial stroke volume. The aortic pressure (afterload) was held constant. An increase in filling pressure from 5 to 20 cmH2O at an aortic pressure of 70 cmH2O, or an increase in filling pressure of 7.5 to 20 cmH2O at an aortic pressure of 100 cmH2O, significantly stimulated the rates of left-atrial protein synthesis by 30-40%. The stimulation was observed when the rates of protein synthesis were expressed relative to either protein or RNA content. Since perfusate entering the right atrium from the coronary circulation left that atrium passively, the rate of protein synthesis in this compartment can be used as an internal control. Rates of right-atrial protein synthesis were similar to those in the left atria exposed to the lower filling pressures and were unaffected by the increases in left-atrial filling pressure. We suggest that the acute effects of increased left-atrial filling pressure on protein synthesis in that compartment may be important in the development of left-atrial hypertrophy. This condition is seen in patients who have raised pulmonary venous pressures in, for example, mitral stenosis.

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