Sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium content fluctuation is the key to cardiac alternans

Circulation Research
M E DíazDavid A Eisner

Abstract

The aim of this work was to investigate whether beat-to-beat alternation in the amplitude of the systolic Ca(2+) transient (Ca(2+) alternans) is due to changes of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) content, and if so, whether the alternans arises due to a change in the gain of the feedback controlling SR Ca(2+) content. We found that, in rat ventricular myocytes, stimulating with small (20 mV) depolarizing pulses produced alternans of the amplitude of the Ca(2+) transient. Confocal measurements showed that the larger transients resulted from propagation of Ca(2+) waves. SR Ca(2+) content (measured from caffeine-evoked membrane currents) alternated in phase with the alternans of Ca(2+) transient amplitude. After a large transient, if SR Ca(2+) content was elevated by brief exposure of the cell to a Na(+)-free solution, then the alternans was interrupted and the next transient was also large. This shows that changes of SR Ca(2+) content are sufficient to produce alternans. The dependence of Ca(2+) transient amplitude on SR content was steeper under alternating than under control conditions. During alternation, the Ca(2+) efflux from the cell was also a steeper function of SR Ca(2+) content than under control. We attribute these s...Continue Reading

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Nerve Impulses
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