Introduction: Several common polymorphisms of the β2 adrenergic (ADRB2) have been described including a Glycine (Gly) for arginine (Arg) substitution at amino acid 16. In vivo studies have attributed phenotypic differences in the Arg16Gly polymorphism of the ADRB2 to differences in agonist-mediated desensitization. Some studies, however, have shown differences between genotype groups under non-agonist-mediated conditions suggesting baseline differences in receptor function or in receptor density. We sought to determine whether genetic variation of the ADRB2 influenced ADRB2 density and, consequently, resting cardiovascular function.
Methods: We measured ADRB2 density on isolated lymphocytes in 30 healthy subjects (15 homozygous for Arg, Arg16, and 15 homozygous for Gly, Gly16) matched for age, cardiovascular fitness, BMI, and gender. In addition, we measured cardiac output (Q), heart rate (HR), and stroke volume (SV) after 5 min of quiet rest in these same subjects.
Results: Arg16 subjects had lower receptor density (1220 ± 78 vs 1574 ± 110, mean ± SE, P < 0.01) as well as lower resting cardiac output due to a reduced stroke volume, but a higher HR when compared with the Gly16 subjects (Q = 4.3 ± 0.2 vs 5.0 ± 0.3 L·min−1, SV = 65 ± 6 vs 86 ± 7 mL·beat−1, HR = 70 ± 4 vs 60 ± 3 beats·min−1, for the Arg16 and Gly16 groups, respectively, P < 0.01). In addition, ADRB2 density for all subjects was positively associated with cardiac output (r = 0.428, P = 0.009) and stroke volume (r = 0.407, P = 0.001).
Conclusions: These data suggest that the Arg16Gly polymorphism of the ADRB2 influences receptor density, which, in turn, contributes to resting differences in cardiac output and stroke volume.