European Respiratory Journal vol:8 issue:11 pages:1915-21
The mechanisms of theophylline-induced inotropic effects at shorter diaphragm length have not yet been explored. We wondered whether the greater inotropic effects of the drug at shorter diaphragm length might result from an effect on intracellular calcium level. Forty pairs of diaphragm bundles were stimulated at 70% of optimal length in the presence of either verapamil (10(-5)M), calcium-free Krebs solution (buffered or not with 2 mM ethylene glycol tetra-acetic acid (EGTA)) or ryanodine (10(-6) M). Theophylline (1 mM) was subsequently added to one muscle bundle and, after 15 min, twitches were repeated. The twitch potentiation induced by theophylline (37 +/- 21%) was unaffected by verapamil (43 +/- 26%), or zero calcium (39 +/- 18%) and virtually unchanged when the latter was buffered with EGTA. By contrast, theophylline failed to increase twitch tension after pretreatment with ryanodine, a blocker of the calcium release by the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This decreased twitch tension in control (-5 +/- 11%) and experimental (-14 +/- 12%) bundles and prolonged half-relaxation time as a result of impaired sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium reuptake. We conclude that the inotropic effects of theophylline on twitch tension in foreshortened canine diaphragm bundles were not related to sarcoplasmic reticulum. This is consistent with an action of theophylline on the sarcoplasmic reticulum.