GRK5 Gln41Leu polymorphism is not associated with sensitivity to β1-adrenergic blockade in humans

Daniel Kurnik, Andrew J. Cunningham, Gbenga G. Sofowora, Utkarsh Kohli, Chun Li, Eitan A. Friedman, Mordechai Muszkat, Usha B. Menon, Alastair J.J. Wood, C. Michael Stein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Aims: A common, functionally significant polymorphism in GRK5 (Gln41Leu) encodes a gain-of-function enzyme that enhances desensitization of the β1-adrenergic receptor. GRK5 Leu41 has been postulated to confer endogenous 'genetic β-blockade' and contribute to an attenuated response to β-blockers in black subjects. The effects of this GRK5 variant on sensitivity to a β-blocker have not been studied in humans. We hypothesized that the GRK5 Gln41Leu variant contributes to interindividual variability in response to β-blockade and to the ethnic difference in sensitivity between black and Caucasian individuals. Materials & methods: We measured the heart rate at rest and during a graded incremental exercise in 154 healthy subjects (85 white and 69 black) before and after an oral administration of 25 mg atenolol. We determined the genotypes of GRK5 (Gln41Leu), β1- adrenergic receptor (ADRB1 Ser49Gly and Arg389Gly) genotypes and plasma atenolol concentrations. The effects of genotype and covariates on sensitivity to atenolol, measured as the reduction in exercise-induced tachycardia, were determined using multiple regression analyses. Results: The minor allele frequency of GRK5 Leu41 was 32.6% in blacks and 0% in whites. Black individuals were less sensitive to atenolol than white individuals (p ≤ 0.011) but this was not explained by the GRK5 genotype. The GRK5 genotype had no effect on resting heart rate before (p = 0.61) and after adjustment for age, sex, ethnicity, atenolol concentrations, BMI and ADRB1 genotypes (p = 0.81). The decrease in heart rate after atenolol administration did not differ significantly according to the GRK5 genotype at rest or after exercise, before (all p > 0.14) and after statistical adjustment for covariates (all p > 0.17). Conclusion: The GRK5 Gln41Leu polymorphism does not affect sensitivity to the β-adrenergic blocker, atenolol, during acute physiological adrenergic stimulation, nor does it contribute to the ethnic differences in sensitivity to atenolol among black and Caucasian individuals.

Original languageAmerican English
Pages (from-to)1581-1587
Number of pages7
Issue number10
StatePublished - 2009
Externally publishedYes


  • Atenolol
  • Ethnicity
  • GRK5
  • Pharmacogenetics
  • β-blockade


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