A variety of compounds were examined for their capacity to alter RNA synthesis in isolated rat cardiac and hepatic mitochondria. The beta-adrenergic blocking agents propranolol and butoxamine, and the antiarrhythmic agent quinidine, produced a concentration-dependent stimulation of RNA synthesis in cardiac and hepatic mitochondria. In contrast, the antitubercular antibiotic rifampicin produced a concentration-dependent inhibition of RNA synthesis in cardiac and hepatic mitochondria. Propranolol, as a representative compound which stimulated RNA synthesis, was also found to stimulate ATP synthesis in isolated mitochondria, whereas rifampicin inhibited ATP synthesis. Coordinate increases and decreases in RNA and ATP syntheses suggest that agents which stimulate or inhibit RNA synthesis may rapidly alter ATP synthesis. This finding is consistent with the rapid turn-over of mitochondrial RNA with a messenger function (1.4 and 3.3 min in isolated rat cardiac and hepatic mitochondria), and it suggests that mitochondrial RNA must continue to be synthesized to maintain inner membrane systems required for ATP synthesis. Stimulation of RNA and ATP syntheses by propranolol through membrane stabilization or other actions represents a heretofore unrecognized action of propranolol which may contribute to its beneficial therapeutic effects. © 1987.
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