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Cell Calcium. 2005 Jul;38(1):1-9.

Propagation of Ca2+ release in cardiac myocytes: role of mitochondria.

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  • 1Division of Cardiology, University of Utah Health Science Center, 50 North Medical Drive, Salt Lake City, UT 84132, USA.


Factors contributing to "local control" of Ca2+ release in cardiac myocytes are incompletely understood. We induced local release of Ca2+ by regional exposure of mouse atrial and ventricular myocytes to 10mM caffeine for 500 ms using a rapid solution switcher. Propagation of Ca2+ release was imaged by means of a Nipkow confocal microscope, and fluo-3. Under physiologic conditions, a local release of Ca2+ propagated in atrial myocytes, not in ventricular myocytes. Inhibition of SR Ca2+ uptake (500 nM thapsigargin), and of Ca2+ extrusion via Na/Ca exchange (5mM Ni2+), did not result in propagation in ventricular myocytes. The density of mitochondria was greater in ventricular than in atrial myocytes, although the abundance of ryanodine receptors and myofilaments was similar. Partial inhibition of Ca2+ uptake via the mitochondrial Ca2+ uniporter (5 microM Ru360) caused an increase in the [Ca2+]i transient in paced ventricular myocytes, and consistently resulted in propagation of Ca2+ release. This effect of Ru360 did not appear to be due to altered SR Ca2+ content. These data indicate that Ca2+ uptake via the mitochondrial uniporter occurs on a beat-to-beat basis, and may contribute to local control of Ca2+ release. Propagation of Ca2+ release in atrial myocytes may result in part from the relatively low density of mitochondria present.

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