Potential paracrine role of the pericardium in the regulation of cardiac function

Alexandre Mebazaa, Randall C. Wetzel, Jeffrey M. Dodd-O, Eileen M. Redmond, Ajay M. Shah, Kaori Maeda, Geneviève Maistre, Edward G. Lakatta, James L. Robotham

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

52 Scopus citations


Objective: Both coronary and endocardial endothelium regulate cardiac contractile function via paracrine pathways. We investigated whether pericardial fluid (PF) and pericardial mesothelial cells (PMC) could exert a similar paracrine action. Methods: Both PF and PMC were extracted from sheep pericardial space. Endothelin-1, prostaglandins and atrial natriuretic factor were measured in PF in vivo. In the other hand, PMC were grown on T-75 flasks and microcarrier beads to investigate endothelin-1, nitric oxide and prostaglandin pathways in vitro. In addition, effects of PF and PMC effluent were tested on adult rat cardiac myocyte contraction in vitro. Results: In vitro, cultured PMC expressed endothelin-1 mRNA but not the endothelial nitric oxide synthase III, and released endothelin-1 and prostaglandins. Both PF and cultured PMC superfusate induced a potent, rapidly reversible decrease in the shortening of isolated rat cardiac myocytes. This effect was not associated with changes in intracellular calcium. In vivo, prostaglandins, atrial natriuretic factor and endothelin were present in PF. A greater concentration of atrial natriuretic factor was present in PF than in serum, suggesting molecular diffusion from the myocardium to PF. Preliminary results show that the instillation of vasoactive agents into the pericardial space of dogs rapidly alter coronary and systemic vascular tone, consistent with a molecular diffusion of these substances from PF into the myocardium and circulation. Conclusions: In addition to its mechanical role, the pericardium may contribute to the integration and the regulation of cardiovascular function via a paracrine mechanism.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)332-342
Number of pages11
JournalCardiovascular research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Nov 1 1998


  • Atrial natriuretic factor
  • Endothelin
  • Mesothelium
  • Nitric oxide
  • Prostaglandins

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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