1. Changes in membrane lipid composition and metabolism could participate in myocardial membrane dysfunction in essential or experimental hypertension. Phospholipid-bound fatty acid profile and metabolism are altered in cultured heart myocytes of newborn genetically hypertensive rats. The present study was designed to investigate the participation of phospholipase A2 in these modifications. 2. Phospholipase A2 activity of cultured cardiomyocytes of neonate spontaneously hypertensive rats and normotensive control Wistar—Kyoto rats was compared. The enzyme activity was measured using 2-[1-14C]arachidonyl-phosphatidylethanolamine as substrate. In both strains, Ca2+-dependent and independent phospholipase A2 activities were present. Only the Ca2+-dependent enzyme activity was altered in spontaneously hypertensive rat cardiomyocytes. With 0.2 mmol/l substrate and 5 mmol/l Ca2+, the phospholipase A2 activities were 79.0 ± 13.4 and 26.0 ± 3.6 nmol h−1 mg−1 of protein in spontaneously hypertensive and Wistar—Kyoto rat cardiomyocytes respectively (n = 10 in both cases, P = 0.001). The maximum velocity of the enzyme was three times higher in spontaneously hypertensive rat than in Wistar—Kyoto rat, without changes in the apparent affinity of the enzyme for its substrate.

3. The present results demonstrate an enhanced phospholipase A2 activity in cultured heart muscle cells of spontaneously hypertensive rats, which could be genetically determined.

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