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Can J Cardiol. 1987 Jun-Aug;3(5):215-9.

Altered calcium uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum following cardiac transplantation in humans.


Abnormalities in the diastolic properties of the heart have been described following human cardiac transplantation and may reflect, at least in part, decreased Ca2+ uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum. This possibility was evaluated by obtaining serial myocardial biopsies in 13 patients who underwent cardiac transplantation for severe heart failure. Oxalate-supported Ca2+ uptake by the sarcoplasmic reticulum was measured in homogenates of 83 ventricular biopsies from transplanted hearts. Biopsies from seven subjects with normal cardiac function and morphology served as controls. In the transplanted hearts, there was a tendency for Ca2+ uptake rate to decline with time so that 4-5 months postoperatively, it was significantly lower (4.5 +/- 0.5 nmoles Ca2+/mg/min) compared to controls (5.6 +/- 0.5 nmoles Ca2+/mg/min, p less than 0.01). Plasma norepinephrine levels fell from the high preoperative values (689 +/- 50 pg/mL) towards normal (215 +/- 7 pg/mL) within 30 days after transplantation. Subsequently, however, there was a tendency for norepinephrine levels to increase (369 +/- 55 pg/mL at 4 months). In four patients for which serial observations were available, there was an inverse relationship between myocardial Ca2+ uptake and plasma norepinephrine levels. These results indicate the feasibility of obtaining reproducible serial measurements of Ca2+ uptake in human cardiac biopsies. The decline in sarcoplasmic reticulum function following cardiac transplantation may be, in part, the biochemical basis for the reported impairment in diastolic relaxation.

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