gms | German Medical Science

28. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga

24. bis 27.11.2004, Hannover

Bucindolol, a beta-adrenoceptor blocker with intrinsic sympathomimetic activity?

: ein Beta-Adrenozeptorblocker mit intrinsischer sympathomimetischer Aktivität ?

Meeting Abstract (Hypertonie 2004)

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  • H. Bruck - Universitätsklinikum Essen (Essen, D)
  • C. Giessler - Universitätsklinikum Essen (Essen, D)
  • T. Temme - Universitätsklinikum Essen (Essen, D)
  • O. Brodde - Universitätsklinikum Essen (Essen, D)

Hypertonie 2004. 28. Wissenschaftlicher Kongress der Deutschen Hochdruckliga. Hannover, 24.-27.11.2004. Düsseldorf, Köln: German Medical Science; 2005. Doc04hochP67

The electronic version of this article is the complete one and can be found online at:

Published: August 10, 2005

© 2005 Bruck et al.
This is an Open Access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License ( You are free: to Share – to copy, distribute and transmit the work, provided the original author and source are credited.



Background: Beta-adrenoceptor (AR) blockers are now commonly used in therapy of chronic heart failure. Various studies have shown beneficial effects (reduced mortality) of bisoprolol, metoprolol and carvedilol, while xamoterol, a beta-AR blocker with intrinsic sympathomimetic activity (ISA), exerted adverse effects on mortality. Obviously ISA exerts adverse effects in heart failure treatment. We, therefore, studied whether the beta-AR blockers bisoprolol, metoprolol, carvedilol and bucindolol (all used in heart failure trials) may exert ISA.

Methods: For this purpose we determined, on spontaneously beating right atria of rats pretreated with reserpine (10 mg/kg i.p. 24 h before study), the chronotropic effects of the beta-AR blockers in comparison to isoprenaline (ISO).

Results: In reserpine treated right atria tyramine (up to 10-4 M) failed to exert positive chronotropic effects while isoprenaline (10-10 - 10-6 M) increased heart rate (HR) by 180 ± 23 bpm (n=7, 100%). Celiprolol (n=6) and pindolol (n=5), two well known beta-AR blockers with ISA, increased HR by 38±7 respectively 24±6 bpm (38 and 24%, respectively, of the ISO-effect), while metoprolol, bisoprolol and carvedilol (n=5 each) did not show positive chronotropic activity. Bucindolol (10-10 - 10-6 M), however, increased HR concentration-dependently; maximum increase was 29 ± 6 bpm (n=5, 17% of the ISO-effect). On the other hand, all beta-AR blockers significantly attenuated ISO-induced HR-increases.

Conclusion: These results confirm that bisoprolol, metoprolol and carvedilol are devoid of ISA; bucindolol, however, exerts a certain degree of ISA which might explain why, in the BEST-trial, bucindolol failed to show benefical effects on mortality in patients with chronic heart failure.