Tuning cardiac performance in ischemic heart disease and failure by modulating myofilament function

Sharlene M. Day, Margaret V. Westfall, Joseph M. Metzger

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

31 Scopus citations


The cardiac myofilaments are composed of highly ordered arrays of proteins that coordinate cardiac contraction and relaxation in response to the rhythmic waves of [Ca2+] during the cardiac cycle. Several cardiac disease states are associated with altered myofilament protein interactions that contribute to cardiac dysfunction. During acute myocardial ischemia, the sensitivity of the myofilaments to activating Ca2+ is drastically reduced, largely due to the effects of intracellular acidosis on the contractile machinery. Myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity remains compromised in post-ischemic or "stunned" myocardium even after complete restoration of blood flow and intracellular pH, likely because of covalent modifications of or proteolytic injury to contractile proteins. In contrast, myofilament Ca 2+ sensitivity can be increased in chronic heart failure, owing in part to decreased phosphorylation of troponin I, the inhibitory subunit of the troponin regulatory complex. We highlight, in this paper, the central role of the myofilaments in the pathophysiology of each of these distinct disease entities, with a particular focus on the molecular switch protein troponin I. We also discuss the beneficial effects of a genetically engineered cardiac troponin I, with a histidine button substitution at C-terminal residue 164, for a variety of pathophysiologic conditions, including hypoxia, ischemia, ischemia-reperfusion and chronic heart failure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)911-921
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular Medicine
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2007


  • Cardiac ischemia
  • Heart failure
  • Heart function
  • Myofilament
  • Sarcomere
  • Troponin I


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