Diverse biological responses to different cardiotonic steroids

Moran Dvela, Haim Rosen, Tomer Feldmann, Maoz Nesher, David Lichtstein*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

54 Scopus citations


Cardiotonic steroids (CS) such as ouabain, digoxin and bufalin, are steroidal drugs prepared from the seeds and dried leaves of the genus Digitalis, and the skin and parotid gland of amphibians, are used as a cardiac stimulant. Steroids similar or identical to the cardiotonic steroids were identified in human tissues. The available literature unequivocally supports the notion that these endogenous CS function as hormones in mammals. Recent studies show that although similar in structure, the different CS exhibit diverse biological responses. This was shown at the molecular, cellular, tissue and whole animal levels. This review summarizes these diversities, raises a possible explanation for their presence and discusses their implication on the physiological role of the different steroids.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)159-166
Number of pages8
Issue number3-4
StatePublished - Dec 2007


  • Bufalin
  • Cardenolides
  • Cardiac contractility
  • Digoxin
  • Endocytosis
  • Endogenous cardiotonic steroids
  • Na, K-ATPase
  • Ouabain


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