When you think of Beta-1, always think of the HEART. Beta-1 receptors are all over the heart muscle. There just happen to be some fancy words, that you should DEFINITELY remember, associated with beta-1 affect on the heart.
Beta-1 effects are:
1. Positive Chronotropic: They cause the heart to beat faster.
2. Positive Inotropic: They cause the heart to pump harder
3. Positive Dromotropic: They increase the conductive ability of the heart.
These terms are important because when we get to the drugs, they can be very easily classified according to these characteristics!
As you may have guessed, beta-1 agonists can be used for all sorts of heart issues, including AV heart block (a conduction issue) and heart failure, among other things!
So, can you now think of some characteristics of a beta-1 antagonist (beta blocker)?
Yes! Negative Inotropic, Negative Chronotropic, Negative Dromotropic! So beta blockers make your heart slow down, let it not pump quite so hard, and chill out all of those nerve impulses that may be causing it to freak out a little bit.
Fun fact: There are a ton of auditioning musicians (especially Classical musicians!) that take beta-blockers for an off-label use. Can you figure out why?