The aim of the present study was to determine possible inotropic effects mediated by endothelin ETA and ETB receptors in human myocardial trabeculae from the right atrium and the left ventricle. Isolated trabeculae from human hearts were paced at 1.0 Hz in tissue baths, and changes in isometric contractile force upon exposure to agonist were studied. Endothelin-1 (ET-1) and ET-3 had a strong positive inotropic effect in all trabeculae. ET-1 was significantly more potent than ET-3 in both atrial (P < 0.001) and ventricular (P < 0.05) trabeculae. Preincubation with the ETA receptor antagonist FR139317 (1 μM) decreased significantly (P < 0.005) the potency of ET-1 in both atrial and ventricular trabeculae, without any significant changes in Emax (maximum effect obtained with an agonist). The ETB receptor agonist IRL 1620 had a positive inotropic effect only in some trabeculae, and the ETB receptor antagonist BQ 788 (1 μM) almost completely blocked this effect. These results suggest that both ETA and ETB receptors mediate positive inotropic responses at both the atrial and ventricular level in the human heart.

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