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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2008 Jun-Jul;97(2-3):232-49. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2008.02.009. Epub 2008 Feb 13.

Stretch-activated channels in the heart: contributions to length-dependence and to cardiomyopathy.

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Department of Physiology, Faculty of Medicine and Health Sciences, University of Auckland, Private Bag 92019, Auckland, New Zealand.


The stretch-induced increase in force production of ventricular muscle is biphasic. An abrupt increase in force coincides with the stretch, which is then followed by a slower response that develops over minutes (the slow force response or SFR). The SFR is accompanied by a slow increase in the magnitude of the intracellular Ca2+ transient, but the stretch-dependent mechanisms that give rise to this remain controversial. We characterized the SFR using right ventricular trabeculae from mouse hearts. Application of three different blockers of stretch-activated non-selective cation channels (SAC NSC) reduced the magnitude of the SFR 60s after stretch (400 microM streptomycin: from 86+/-25% to 38+/-14%, P<0.01, n=9; 10 microM GdCl3: from 65+/-21%, to 12+/-7%, P<0.01, n=7; 10 microM GsMTx-4 from 122+/-40% to 15+/-8%, P<0.05, n=6). Streptomycin also decreased the increase in Ca2+ transient amplitude 60s after the stretch from 43.5+/-12.7% to 5.7+/-3.5% (P<0.05, n=4), and reduced the stretch-dependent increase in intracellular Ca2+ in quiescent muscles when stretched. The transient receptor potential, canonical channels TRPC1 and TRPC6 are mechano-sensitive, non-selective cation channels. They are expressed in mouse ventricular muscle, and could therefore be responsible for stretch-dependent influx of Na+ and/or Ca2+ during the SFR. Expression of TRPC1 was investigated in the mdx heart, a mouse model of Duchenne's muscular dystrophy. Resting Ca2+ was raised in isolated myocytes from old mdx animals, which was blocked by application of SAC blockers. Expression of TRPC1 was increased in the older mdx animals, which have developed a dilated cardiomyopathy, and might therefore contribute to the dilated cardiomyopathy.

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