Altered distribution of ICa impairs Ca release at the t-tubules of ventricular myocytes from failing hearts

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In mammalian cardiac ventricular myocytes, Ca influx and release occur predominantly at t-tubules, ensuring synchronous Ca release throughout the cell. Heart failure is associated with disrupted t-tubule structure, but its effect on t-tubule function is less clear. We therefore investigated Ca influx and release at the t-tubules of ventricular myocytes isolated from rat hearts ~ 18 weeks after coronary artery ligation (CAL) or corresponding Sham operation. L-type Ca current (ICa) was recorded using the whole-cell voltage-clamp technique in intact and detubulated myocytes; Ca release at t-tubules was monitored using confocal microscopy with voltage- and Ca-sensitive fluorophores. CAL was associated with cardiac and cellular hypertrophy, decreased ejection fraction, disruption of t-tubule structure and a smaller, slower Ca transient, but no change in ryanodine receptor distribution, L-type Ca channel expression, or ICa density. In Sham myocytes, ICa was located predominantly at the t-tubules, while in CAL myocytes, it was uniformly distributed between the t-tubule and surface membranes. Inhibition of protein kinase A with H-89 caused a greater decrease of t-tubular ICa in CAL than in Sham myocytes; in the presence of H-89, t-tubular ICa density was smaller in CAL than in Sham myocytes. The smaller t-tubular ICa in CAL myocytes was accompanied by increased latency and heterogeneity of SR Ca release at t-tubules, which could be mimicked by decreasing ICa using nifedipine. These data show that CAL decreases t-tubular ICa via a PKA-independent mechanism, thereby impairing Ca release at t-tubules and contributing to the altered excitation–contraction coupling observed in heart failure.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)23–31
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Early online date21 Jun 2015
Publication statusPublished - Sep 2015

Bibliographical note

Date of Acceptance: 17/06/2015


  • t-tubules
  • Ca imaging
  • Heart failure


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