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Circ Res. 2007 Apr 27;100(8):1182-90. Epub 2007 Mar 15.

Calcium-independent negative inotropy by beta-myosin heavy chain gene transfer in cardiac myocytes.

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  • 1Department of Molecular & Integrative Physiology, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, MI 48109-0622, USA.


Increased relative expression of the slow molecular motor of the heart (beta-myosin heavy chain [MyHC]) is well known to occur in many rodent models of cardiovascular disease and in human heart failure. The direct effect of increased relative beta-MyHC expression on intact cardiac myocyte contractility, however, is unclear. To determine the direct effects of increased relative beta-MyHC expression on cardiac contractility, we used acute genetic engineering with a recombinant adenoviral vector (AdMYH7) to genetically titrate beta-MyHC protein expression in isolated rodent ventricular cardiac myocytes that predominantly expressed alpha-MyHC (fast molecular motor). AdMYH7-directed beta-MyHC protein expression and sarcomeric incorporation was observed as soon as 1 day after gene transfer. Effects of beta-MyHC expression on myocyte contractility were determined in electrically paced single myocytes (0.2 Hz, 37 degrees C) by measuring sarcomere shortening and intracellular calcium cycling. Gene transfer-based replacement of alpha-MyHC with beta-MyHC attenuated contractility in a dose-dependent manner, whereas calcium transients were unaffected. For example, when beta-MyHC expression accounted for approximately 18% of the total sarcomeric myosin, the amplitude of sarcomere-length shortening (nanometers, nm) was depressed by 42% (151.0+/-10.7 [control] versus 87.0+/-5.4 nm [AdMYH7 transduced]); and genetic titration of beta-MyHC, leading to 38% beta-MyHC content, attenuated shortening by 57% (138.9+/-13.0 versus 59.7+/-7.1 nm). Maximal isometric cross-bridge cycling rate was also slower in AdMYH7-transduced myocytes. Results indicate that small increases of beta-MyHC expression (18%) have Ca2+ transient-independent physiologically relevant effects to decrease intact cardiac myocyte function. We conclude that beta-MyHC is a negative inotrope among the cardiac myofilament proteins.

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