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Arch Biochem Biophys. 2019 Mar 30;664:62-67. doi: 10.1016/ Epub 2019 Jan 30.

How myofilament strain and strain rate lead the dance of the cardiac cycle.

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Department of Physiology, Wayne State University, Rm 4126 Scott Hall, 540 E Canfield, Detroit, MI, 48201, USA. Electronic address:


Movement of the myocardium can modify organ-level cardiac function and its molecular (crossbridge) mechanisms. This motion, which is defined by myocardial strain and strain rate (muscle shortening, lengthening, and the speed of these movements), occurs throughout the cardiac cycle, including during isovolumic periods. This review highlights how the left ventricular myocardium moves throughout the cardiac cycle, how muscle mechanics experiments provide insight into the regulation of forces used to move blood in and out of the left ventricle, and its impact on (and regulation by) crossbridge and sarcomere kinetics. We specifically highlight how muscle mechanics experiments explain how myocardial relaxation is accelerated by lengthening (strain rate) during late systole and isovolumic relaxation, a lengthening which has been measured in human hearts. Advancing and refining both in vivo measurement and ex vivo protocols with physiologic strain and strain rates could reveal important insights into molecular (crossbridge) kinetics. These advances could provide an improvement in both diagnosis and precise treatment of cardiac dysfunction.


Diastole; Relaxation; Strain; Strain rate; Striated muscle; Systole

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