Steven Swoap, Biology

Oxyntomodulin increases intrinsic heart rate through the glucagon receptor

Auyon Mukharji1, Daniel J. Drucker2, Maureen J. Charron3, Steven J. Swoap1,*

Two hormones from the gastrointestinal tract, glucagon and oxyntomodulin (OXM), vigorously elevate the intrinsic heart rate (IHR) of mice. We have previously shown that OXM influences murine heart rate (HR) independent of the glucagon-like peptide 1 (GLP-1) receptor. Here, we demonstrate using radiotelemetry in mice deficient in the glucagon receptor (Gcgr −/−) that both OXM and glucagon require the glucagon receptor for their chronotropic effects on the heart. Furthermore, we found that other hormones associated with hunger and satiety (ghrelin, leptin, and PYY3-36) had no effect on IHR, while cholecystokinin moderately elevated the IHR. Finally, the resting HR of Gcgr −/− mice was higher than in control mice (Gcgr +/+ and Gcgr +/−) at thermal neutral temperature (30°C). Using atropine, we demonstrated that Gcgr −/− mice have diminished parasympathetic (PNS) influence of the heart at this temperature. Gcgr −/− mice displayed a normal bradycardia as compared to controls in response to administration of either methacholine (to activate the muscarinic acetylcholine receptor) or methoxamine (to activate the baroreflex through agonism of the α1 adrenergic receptor agonist) suggesting that vagal pathways are intact in the Gcgr −/− mice. As OXM is an agonist of the GLP-1 receptor and Gcgr with antidiabetic activity, we suggest OXM may be an alternative to glucagon in the treatment of overdose of beta-blockers to elevate HR in clinical conditions.