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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2010 Aug;299(2):H519-28. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00265.2010. Epub 2010 Jun 11.

Enhanced basal contractility but reduced excitation-contraction coupling efficiency and beta-adrenergic reserve of hearts with increased Cav1.2 activity.

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Cardiovascular Research Center and Dept. of Physiology, Temple Univ. School of Medicine, 3400 N. Broad St., Philadelphia, PA 19140, USA.


Cardiac remodeling during heart failure development induces a significant increase in the activity of the L-type Ca(2+) channel (Cav1.2). However, the effects of enhanced Cav1.2 activity on myocyte excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling, cardiac contractility, and its regulation by the beta-adrenergic system are not clear. To recapitulate the increased Cav1.2 activity, a double transgenic (DTG) mouse model overexpressing the Cavbeta2a subunit in a cardiac-specific and inducible manner was established. We studied cardiac (in vivo) and myocyte (in vitro) contractility at baseline and upon beta-adrenergic stimulation. E-C coupling efficiency was evaluated in isolated myocytes as well. The following results were found: 1) in DTG myocytes, L-type Ca(2+) current (I(Ca,L)) density, myocyte fractional shortening (FS), peak Ca(2+) transients, and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) content (caffeine-induced Ca(2+) transient peak) were significantly increased (by 100.8%, 48.8%, 49.8%, and 46.8%, respectively); and 2) cardiac contractility evaluated with echocardiography [ejection fraction (EF) and (FS)] and invasive intra-left ventricular pressure (maximum dP/dt and -dP/dt) measurements were significantly greater in DTG mice than in control mice. However, 1) the cardiac contractility (EF, FS, dP/dt, and -dP/dt)-enhancing effect of the beta-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol (2 microg/g body wt ip) was significantly reduced in DTG mice, which could be attributed to the loss of beta-adrenergic stimulation on contraction, Ca(2+) transients, I(Ca,L), and SR Ca(2+) content in DTG myocytes; and 2) E-C couplng efficiency was significantly lower in DTG myocytes. In conclusion, increasing Cav1.2 activity by promoting its high-activity mode enhances cardiac contractility but decreases E-C coupling efficiency and the adrenergic reserve of the heart.

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