METHODS: An initial study showed that PMX53, an antagonist of C5aR1 in normal C57BL6/J (wild type, WT) mice reduced heart rate (HR) and appeared to have a protective effect on the heart following induced sepsis. C5aR1 knockout (CD88-/-) mice had a lower HR than wild type mice, even during sham surgery. A model to assess heart rate variability (HRV) in anesthetized mice was developed to assess the effects of inhibiting the β1-adrenoreceptor (β1-AR) in a randomized crossover study design.
RESULTS: HR and LF Norm were constitutively lower and SDNN and HF Norm constitutively higher in the CD88-/- compared with WT mice (P< 0.001 for all outcomes). Administration of atenolol (2.5 mg/kg) reduced the HR and increased HRV (P< 0.05, respectively) in the wild type but not in the CD88-/- mice. There was no shift of the sympathovagal balance post-atenolol in either strains of mice (P> 0.05), except for the reduced LF/HF (Lower frequency/High frequency) ratio (P< 0.05) at 60 min post-atenolol, suggesting increased parasympathetic tone of the heart due to the effect of atenolol administration. The HR of the WT mice were lower post atenolol compared to the CD88-/- mice (P = 0.001) but the HRV of CD88-/- mice were significantly increased (P< 0.05), compared with WT mice.
CONCLUSION: Knockout of the C5aR1 attenuated the effect of β1-AR in the heart, suggesting an association between the β1-AR and C5aR1, although further investigation is required to determine if this is a direct or causal association.