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Thr164Ile polymorphism of β2-adrenergic receptor negatively modulates cardiac contractility: implications for prognosis in patients with idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy
  1. Emanuele Barbato,
  2. Martin Penicka,
  3. Leen Delrue,
  4. Frederic Van Durme,
  5. Bernard De Bruyne,
  6. Marc Goethals,
  7. William Wijns,
  8. Marc Vanderheyden,
  9. Jozef Bartunek
  1. Molecular Biology and Cardiology Unit, Cardiovascular Center and Cardiovascular Research Center, Onze Lieve Vrouw Ziekenhuis, Aalst, Belgium
  1. Correspondence to:
    Dr J Bartunek
    Cardiovascular Center, OLV Ziekenhuis, Moorselbaan 164, B-9300 Aalst, Belgium; jozef.bartunek{at}


Background: β2-adrenergic receptor Thr164Ile (threonine (Thr) is replaced by an isoleucine (Ile) at codon 164) polymorphism was postulated to contribute to lower exercise tolerance and poor prognosis in patients with congestive heart failure. However, heart failure is associated with several abnormalities of β receptor signalling, and underlying mechanisms are not clear.

Objectives: To investigate whether Thr164Ile polymorphism negatively modulates myocardial contractile performance and is associated with adverse long-term prognosis of patients with congestive heart failure.

Methods: Among 55 subjects, cardiac contractile response to the β2-adrenergic receptor agonist terbutaline was assessed from the peak myocardial velocity of systolic shortening (Sm) in 18 subjects with the Ile-164 variant and 37 matched controls. In total, 24 subjects had normal left ventricular (LV) function and 31 presented with congestive heart failure due to idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy.

Results: In patients with normal LV function, peak terbutaline-induced increase (Δ) in Sm was lower in subjects with the Ile-164 variant than in controls (Δ33% (4%) vs Δ56% (4%), p<0.01). In patients with heart failure, subjects with Ile-164 showed further severe reduction of β2-adrenergic-mediated increase in Sm as compared with controls with heart failure (Δ20% (5%) vs Δ39% (4%), p<0.05). Patients with heart failure with Ile-164 showed a severely blunted force–frequency relationship in response to agonist stimulation. At 2-years of follow-up, patients with heart failure with the Ile-164 variant showed higher incidence of adverse events than controls with heart failure (75% (6/8)] vs 30% (7/23), p<0.05).

Conclusions: The β2-adrenergic Thr164Ile polymorphism directly modulates adrenergic-mediated cardiac responses in patients with normal and failing myocardium. Furthermore, blunted β2 adrenergic-mediated myocardial contractile response in patients with Ile-164 variant seems to adversely modulate the course of congestive heart failure.

  • LV, left ventricular
  • LVEF, left ventricular ejection fraction
  • Sm, peak myocardial velocity of systolic shortening
  • Thr164Ile, threonine (Thr) is replaced by an isoleucine (Ile) at codon 164

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  • Published Online First 7 March 2007

  • Competing interests: None.