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Am J Physiol Regul Integr Comp Physiol. 2007 Jul;293(1):R13-9. Epub 2006 Jun 1.

Modular regulation analysis of heart contraction: application to in situ demonstration of a direct mitochondrial activation by calcium in beating heart.

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Résonance Magnétique des Systèmes Biologiques, UMR5536 CNRS-Université Victor Segalen Bordeaux 2, 146 rue Léo-Saignat, 33076 Bordeaux cedex, France.


Heart contraction is characterized by the absence of changes in energetic intermediates in response to a large increase of activity. Until now no experimental approach could address this question concerning the intact beating heart. Ca(2+) plays a crucial role in the excitation-contraction coupling, and in vitro studies have evidenced that Ca(2+) may also directly activate mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation. We applied our new in situ modular control and regulation analysis on isolated beating rat heart perfused under two different calcium concentrations with pyruvate or glucose as the substrate. Modular control analysis demonstrated experimentally that, although control by energy production was slightly higher under glucose conditions compared with pyruvate, most of the control of heart contraction resides in energy utilization. This behavior is the direct consequence of the high sensitivity (elasticity) of the energy producer processes to ATP utilization. Interestingly, the increase in heart metabolic rate by Ca(2+) did not significantly change the pattern of control distribution. The regulation analysis performed under the two calcium conditions demonstrated a balanced activation of myofibrils ATPases, and mitochondrial ATP synthesis in response to Ca(2+) increase. This first study demonstrates in situ the hypothesis that the energetic adequation in heart contraction is mediated by a parallel activation of both processes of energy production and utilization by Ca(2+). The results presented here show that modular control and regulation analyses allow in situ study of internal regulations in intact beating heart energetics and function and may now be applied to heart dysfunctions and therapeutic effects.

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