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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Jun 1;302(11):H2178-89. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.01073.2011. Epub 2012 Mar 16.

Cardiac mitochondrial network excitability: insights from computational analysis.

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Division of Cardiovascular Disease, Department of Medicine, The University of Alabama at Birmingham, 35294, USA.


In the heart, mitochondria form a regular lattice and function as a coordinated, nonlinear network to continuously produce ATP to meet the high-energy demand of the cardiomyocytes. Cardiac mitochondria also exhibit properties of an excitable system: electrical or chemical signals can spread within or among cells in the syncytium. The detailed mechanisms by which signals pass among individual elements (mitochondria) across the network are still not completely understood, although emerging studies suggest that network excitability might be mediated by the local diffusion and autocatalytic release of messenger molecules such as reactive oxygen species and/or Ca(2+). In this short review, we have attempted to described recent advances in the field of cardiac mitochondrial network excitability. Specifically, we have focused on how mitochondria communicate with each other through the diffusion and regeneration of messenger molecules to initiate and propagate waves or oscillations, as revealed by computational models of mitochondrial network.

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