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PLoS One. 2013 Sep 18;8(9):e74719. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0074719. eCollection 2013.

The impact of ovariectomy on calcium homeostasis and myofilament calcium sensitivity in the aging mouse heart.

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Department of Pharmacology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.


This study determined whether deficiency of ovarian estrogen starting very early in life promoted age-associated Ca(2+) dysregulation and contractile dysfunction in isolated ventricular myocytes. Myocytes were isolated from anesthetized C57BL/6 female mice. Animals received an ovariectomy or sham-operation at one month and were aged to ~24 months. Excitation-contraction coupling parameters were compared in fura-2 loaded myocytes (37°C). While Ca(2+) transients were larger and faster in field-stimulated myocytes from ovariectomized mice, ovariectomy had no effect on peak fractional shortening. Similarly, ovariectomy had no effect on fractional shortening measured in vivo by echocardiography (values were 60.5 ± 2.9 vs. 60.3 ± 2.5% in sham and ovariectomized, respectively; n=5 mice/group). Ovariectomy did decrease myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, as evidenced by a 26% increase in the Ca(2+) required to activate actomyosin MgATPase in ovariectomized hearts. Larger Ca(2+) transients were attributable to a 48% increase in peak Ca(2+) current, along with an increase in the amplitude, width and frequency of Ca(2+) sparks measured in fluo-4 loaded myocytes. These changes in Ca(2+) handling were not due to increased expression of Ca(2+) channels (Cav1.2), sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) ATPase (SERCA2) or Na(+)-Ca(2+) exchanger in ovariectomized hearts. However, ovariectomy increased sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) stores by ~90% and promoted spontaneous Ca(2+) release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum when compared to sham controls. These observations demonstrate that long-term ovariectomy promotes intracellular Ca(2+) dysregulation, reduces myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity and increases spontaneous Ca(2+) release in the aging female heart.

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