The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger/SR Ca2+ ATPase transport capacity regulates the contractility of normal and hypertrophied feline ventricular myocytes

Jutta Weisser-Thomas, Hajime Kubo, Colleen A. Hefner, John P. Gaughan, Brian S. McGowan, Robert Ross, Markus Meyer, Wolfgang Dillmann, Steven R. Houser

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13 Scopus citations


Background: Pressure overload leads to cardiac hypertrophy, which is often followed by heart failure. We tested the hypothesis that depressed contractility in this process results from an imbalance in Ca2+ transport by the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA) and the sarcolemmal Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX). Methods and Results: Left ventricular (LV) myocytes (n = 79) from 12 normal (N) and 5 hypertrophied (LVH, by aortic banding) feline hearts were studied. Adenoviral gene transfer was used to introduce green fluorescent protein (GFP), SERCA2, and NCX into N and LVH myocytes. Contraction (videomicroscopy) and Ca2+ transients (Fluo-3) were measured in steady state and after rest periods of 2 to 120 seconds (rest decay and potentiation). LVH hearts were significantly larger than N (7.1 ± 1.4 versus 4.2 ± 0.2 g/kg). SERCA protein was significantly less abundant in LVH versus N. Steady state contractions and Ca2+ transients of LVH-GFP myocytes decayed more slowly and rest decay of contractility was more pronounced compared with N-GFP. Infection of LVH (and N) myocytes with SERCA increased basal contractility and reduced rest decay. Infection of LVH myocytes with NCX almost abolished contraction and in N myocytes reduced contractility and increased rest decay. Conclusion: These findings suggest that an imbalance of Ca2+ transport by SERCA and the NCX produces the characteristic contractile abnormalities of hypertrophied cardiac myocytes.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)380-387
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of cardiac failure
Issue number5 SPEC. ISS.
StatePublished - Jun 2005
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
Supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, Bethesda, Maryland, to S.R.H. (HL 33921 and HL 61495) and by the “St. Jude Medical Stipend” from the German Cardiac Society to J.W.T.


  • Adenovirus-mediated gene transfer
  • Hypertrophy
  • Na/Ca exchanger
  • SR Ca ATPase


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