PMID: 12509476Jan 2, 2003

Local calcium gradients during excitation-contraction coupling and alternans in atrial myocytes

The Journal of Physiology
Lothar A BlatterStephen L Lipsius

Abstract

Subcellular Ca(2+) signalling during normal excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling and during Ca(2+) alternans was studied in atrial myocytes using fast confocal microscopy and measurement of Ca(2+) currents (I(Ca)). Ca(2+) alternans, a beat-to-beat alternation in the amplitude of the [Ca(2+)](i) transient, causes electromechanical alternans, which has been implicated in the generation of cardiac fibrillation and sudden cardiac death. Cat atrial myocytes lack transverse tubules and contain sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of the junctional (j-SR) and non-junctional (nj-SR) types, both of which have ryanodine-receptor calcium release channels. During E-C coupling, Ca(2+) entering through voltage-gated membrane Ca(2+) channels (I(Ca)) triggers Ca(2+) release at discrete peripheral j-SR release sites. The discrete Ca(2+) spark-like increases of [Ca(2+)](i) then fuse into a peripheral 'ring' of elevated [Ca(2+)](i), followed by propagation (via calcium-induced Ca(2+) release, CICR) to the cell centre, resulting in contraction. Interrupting I(Ca) instantaneously terminates j-SR Ca(2+) release, whereas nj-SR Ca(2+) release continues. Increasing the stimulation frequency or inhibition of glycolysis elicits Ca(2+) alternans. The spatiotempor...Continue Reading

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Related Concepts

Cardiac Arrhythmia
Calcium
Electrophysiology (Science)
Glycolysis
Myocardial Contraction
Phosphorylation
Atrial Function
Ryanodine Receptor 3
Myocytes, Cardiac

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