PMID: 2419705Dec 21, 1985

Model of mechanical alternans in the mammalian myocardium

Journal of Theoretical Biology
D AdlerY Mahler


A model is proposed to elucidate the cause and mechanism of mechanical alternans in cardiac muscle in terms of discrete calcium movements. Mechanical alternans, the cause of which lies within the borders of excitation-contraction-coupling (ECC), is analyzed. In this case, the "input" of the ECC system (the action potentials and intervals) is constant while the "output" (contractile force) oscillates between two constant values, indicating that the system has a "memory" with two "internal states". It is proposed that these two "states" are associated with a part of the sarcoplasmic reticulum ("releasable terminal") containing the readily releasable calcium. A mechanism of "calcium-concentration-dependent threshold" is suggested to govern the "release function", i.e. the release of calcium from the "releasable terminal" to the myofilaments. The "release function" is analyzed in both the linear and the non-linear cases and its implication on the initiation of sustained and transient mechanical alternans are described. The dependence of mechanical alternans on a disturbance is also explained. The model response resembles the experimental observations of mechanical alternans in mammalian myocardium in the following manners: abrupt t...Continue Reading


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