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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2007 Nov;43(5):552-63. Epub 2007 Sep 6.

Reduced sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) load mediates impaired contractile reserve in right ventricular pressure overload.

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  • 1Department of Physiology and the Cardiovascular Research Center, Temple University School of Medicine, Philadelphia, PA, USA.


Myocardial contractile reserve is significantly attenuated in patients with advanced heart failure. The aim of this study was to identify mechanisms of impaired contractile reserve in a large animal model that closely mimics human myocardial failure. Progressive right ventricular hypertrophy and failure were induced by banding the pulmonary artery in kittens. Isometric contractile force was measured in right ventricular trabeculae (n=115) from age-matched Control and Banded feline hearts. Rapid cooling contractures (RCC) were used to determine sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) load while assessing the ability of changes in rate, adrenergic stimulation and bath Ca(2+) to augment contractility. The positive force-frequency relationship and robust pre- and post-receptor adrenergic responses observed in Control trabeculae were closely paralleled by increases in RCC amplitude and the RCC2/RCC1 ratio. Conversely, the severely blunted force-frequency and adrenergic responses in Banded trabeculae were paralleled by an unchanged RCC amplitude and RCC2/RCC1 ratio. Likewise, supraphysiologic levels of bath Ca(2+) were associated with severely reduced contractility and RCC amplitude in Banded trabeculae compared to Controls. There were no differences in myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity or length-dependent increases in contractility between Control and Banded trabeculae. There was a significant decrease in SR Ca(2+)-ATPase pump abundance and phosphorylation of phospholamban and ryanodine receptor in Banded trabeculae compared with Controls. A reduced ability to increase SR Ca(2+) load is the primary mechanism of reduced contractile reserve in failing feline myocardium. The similarity of impaired contractile reserve phenomenology in this feline model and transplanted hearts suggests mechanistic relevance to human myocardial failure.

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