ABSTRACT WATCH: Probenecid Improves Cardiac Function in Patients With Heart Failure

J Am Heart Assoc. 2018 Jan 13;7(2). pii: e00714

Probenecid Improves Cardiac Function in Patients With Heart Failure With Reduced Ejection Fraction In Vivo and Cardiomyocyte Calcium Sensitivity In Vitro.

Robbins N1, Gilbert M1, Kumar M1, McNamara JW1, Daly P1, Koch SE1, Conway G1, Effat M1, Woo JG2, Sadayappan S1, Rubinstein J3.



  • Transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 is a calcium channel activated by probenecid. Probenecid is a Food and Drug Administration-approved uricosuric drug that has recently been shown to induce positive lusitropic and inotropic effects in animal models through cardiomyocyte transient receptor potential vanilloid 2 activation. The aim of this study was to test the hypothesis that oral probenecid can improve cardiac function and symptomatology in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and to further elucidate its calcium-dependent effects on myocyte contractility.


  • The clinical trial recruited stable outpatients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction randomized in a single-center, double-blind, crossover design. Clinical data were collected including a dyspnea assessment, physical examination, ECG, echocardiogram to assess systolic and diastolic function, a 6-minute walk test, and laboratory studies. In vitro force generation studies were performed on cardiomyocytes isolated from murine tissue exposed to probenecid or control treatments. 
  • The clinical trial recruited 20 subjects (mean age 57 years, mean baseline fractional shortening of 13.6±1.0%). Probenecid therapy increased fractional shortening by 2.1±1.0% compared with placebo -1.7±1.0% (P=0.007). Additionally, probenecid improved diastolic function compared with placebo by decreasing the E/E’ by -2.95±1.21 versus 1.32±1.21 in comparison to placebo (P=0.03). In vitro probenecid increased myofilament force generation (92.36 versus 80.82 mN/mm2, P<0.05) and calcium sensitivity (pCa 5.67 versus 5.60, P<0.01) compared with control.


  • Probenecid improves cardiac function with minimal effects on symptomatology and no significant adverse effects after 1 week in patients with heart failure with reduced ejection fraction and increases force development and calcium sensitivity at the cardiomyocyte level.


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