Exhaustion of the Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs with heart failure induced by chronic coronary microembolization

Robert M. Gill, Bonita D. Jones, Angela K. Corbly, Dan G. Ohad, Gerald D. Smith, George E. Sandusky, Michael E. Christe, Jie Wang, Weiqun Shen

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21 Scopus citations


The role of the Frank-Starling mechanism in the regulation of cardiac systolic function in the ischemic failing heart was examined in conscious dogs. Left ventricular (LV) dimension, pressure and systolic function were assessed using surgically implanted instrumentations and non-invasive echocardiogram. Heart failure was induced by daily intra-coronary injections of microspheres for 3-4 weeks via implanted coronary catheters. Chronic coronary embolization resulted in a progressive dilation of the left ventricle (12 ± 3%), increase in LV end-diastolic pressure (118 ± 19%), depression of LV dP / dtmax (- 19 ± 4%), fractional shortening (- 36 ± 7%), and cardiac work (- 60 ± 9%), and development of heart failure, while the LV contractile response to dobutamine was depressed. A brief inferior vena caval occlusion in dogs with heart failure decreased LV preload to match the levels attained in their control state and caused a further reduction of LV dP / dtmax, fractional shortening, stroke work and cardiac work. Moreover, in response to acute volume loading, the change in the LV end-diastolic dimension-pressure (ΔLVEDD-ΔLVEDP) curve in the failing heart became steeper and shifted significantly to the left, while the increases in LV stroke work and cardiac work were blunted. Thus, our results suggest that the Frank-Starling mechanism is exhausted in heart failure and unable to further respond to increasing volume while it plays an important compensatory role in adaptation to LV dysfunction in heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)536-544
Number of pages9
JournalLife Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Jul 4 2006



  • Cardiac systolic function
  • Chronic coronary embolization
  • Frank-Starling mechanism
  • Heart failure
  • Volume loading

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
  • Pharmacology, Toxicology and Pharmaceutics(all)

Cite this

Gill, R. M., Jones, B. D., Corbly, A. K., Ohad, D. G., Smith, G. D., Sandusky, G. E., Christe, M. E., Wang, J., & Shen, W. (2006). Exhaustion of the Frank-Starling mechanism in conscious dogs with heart failure induced by chronic coronary microembolization. Life Sciences, 79(6), 536-544. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.lfs.2006.01.045