Met-Enkephalin-Arg-Phe (MERF) and Metabolism of MERF Across the Canine Heart Vascular Bed




Pearlman, Eric Brian


Journal Title

Journal ISSN

Volume Title



Pearlman, Eric B., Met-Enkephalin-Arg-Phe (MERF) and Metabolism of MERF Across the Canine Heart Vascular Bed. Master of Science (Biomedical Science), August, 2000, 37 pp., 3 tables, 11 figures, references, 20 titles. Methionine enkephalin arginine phenylalanine (MERF) has been shown to be co-stored with catecholamines in vesicles. The catecholamines appear to decrease the degradation rate of 3H-MERF in vitro. The aim of this study is to investigate the spillover and metabolism of MERF across the canine heart vascular bed. I hypothesize that 3H-MERF is either degraded in the plasma or taken up and degraded by the heart. I further hypothesize that the exogenous catecholamine, isoproterenol, inhibits or reduces the rate of MERF degradation. Mongrel dogs were anesthetized and instrumented to record cardiovascular parameters, infuse 3H-MERF, and obtain blood samples across the heart. Blood samples were taken before and after stopping 3H-MERF infusion to evaluate kinetics, show steady state, and test the effect of treatments. Steady state concentration of 3H-MERF was observed after 30 min of infusion. Chromatography separated intact from degraded 3H-MERF. Three experimental groups were used: control, propranolol plus isoproterenol, and propranolol only. Blockade of β-receptors was necessary to prevent changes in coronary blood flow. Propranolol bolus (0.2 mg/kg) was administered IV at 50 min. 3 μg/min isoproterenol or 0.5 ml/min normal saline was infused starting at 70 min until the end of sample collection. The 3H-MERF venous-arterial (V-A) difference prior to treatment was negative, indicating degradation in the plasma or uptake and degradation by the heart. The 75 min V-A difference was used to calculate the effect of the infusions on the degradation or uptake of the 3H-MERF; this value was unchanged by any treatment. Spillover of 3H-MERF was significantly lower in the propranolol + isoproterenol dogs (p [less than] 0.05) compared to propranolol only treatment at 75 min. Heart rate was significantly lower for the propranolol only group compared to control. Blood pressure and change in coronary flow were unchanged. In conclusion, isoproterenol does not affect the metabolism of 3H-MERF across the canine heart vascular bed. Propranolol, however, does increase the intact 3H-MERF in the plasma, but additional β adrenergic blockade agents need to be investigated to determine the mechanism by which this takes place.