In JoVE (1)

Other Publications (19)

Articles by Ariel L. Escobar in JoVE

 JoVE Biology

Local Field Fluorescence Microscopy: Imaging Cellular Signals in Intact Hearts

1School of Natural Sciences, University of California, Merced, 2Centro de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Universidad de la Plata and Conicet, 3Facultad de Ingenieria, Universidad Nacional de Entre Rios, 4Department of Physiology, Midwestern University, 5School of Engineering, University of California, Merced

JoVE 55202

Other articles by Ariel L. Escobar on PubMed

Luminal Ca2+ Controls Termination and Refractory Behavior of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ Release in Cardiac Myocytes

Circulation Research. Sep, 2002  |  Pubmed ID: 12215490

Despite extensive research, the mechanisms responsible for the graded nature and early termination of Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release (CICR) from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in cardiac muscle remain poorly understood. Suggested mechanisms include cytosolic Ca2+-dependent inactivation/adaptation and luminal Ca2+-dependent deactivation of the SR Ca2+ release channels/ryanodine receptors (RyRs). To explore the importance of cytosolic versus luminal Ca2+ regulatory mechanisms in controlling CICR, we assessed the impact of intra-SR Ca2+ buffering on global and local Ca2+ release properties of patch-clamped or permeabilized rat ventricular myocytes. Exogenous, low-affinity Ca2+ buffers (5 to 20 mmol/L ADA, citrate or maleate) were introduced into the SR by exposing the cells to "internal" solutions containing the buffers. Enhanced Ca2+ buffering in the SR was confirmed by an increase in the total SR Ca2+ content, as revealed by application of caffeine. At the whole-cell level, intra-SR [Ca2+] buffering dramatically increased the magnitude of Ca2+ transients induced by I(Ca) and deranged the smoothly graded I(Ca)-SR Ca2+ release relationship. The amplitude and time-to-peak of local Ca2+ release events, Ca2+ sparks, as well as the duration of local Ca2+ release fluxes underlying sparks were increased up to 2- to 3-fold. The exogenous Ca2+ buffers in the SR also reduced the frequency of repetitive activity observed at individual release sites in the presence of the RyR activator Imperatoxin A. We conclude that regulation of RyR openings by local intra-SR [Ca2+] is responsible for termination of CICR and for the subsequent restitution behavior of Ca2+ release sites in cardiac muscle.

Pulsed Local-field Fluorescence Microscopy: a New Approach for Measuring Cellular Signals in the Beating Heart

Pflugers Archiv : European Journal of Physiology. Mar, 2003  |  Pubmed ID: 12632197

In cardiac research, single-cell experimental models have been extensively used to study the molecular mechanisms of intracellular Ca(2+) homeostasis. The results of these studies are usually extrapolated to the tissue level assuming that the phenomena studied at the cellular level are either similar in the intact organ, or only slightly modified by variables that exist at the whole-heart level. The validity of these assumptions has rarely been confirmed experimentally. Common obstacles associated with the study of intracellular Ca(2+) signals in beating hearts include motion artifacts and spatio-temporal limitations of the recording system. In this work, action potentials and intracellular Ca(2+) signals were measured in beating hearts from young rats, with spatio-temporal resolutions similar to cellular studies using a novel pulsed local-field fluorescence technique. This method was based on maximizing emitted fluorescence to increase the signal-to-noise ratio (S/N). The fluorescence emission of the indicator molecules was synchronized with brief (<1 ns), high-power (400 W) laser pulses, and the common mode noise of the fluorescence signal was differentially cancelled. To follow rapidly evolving signals, a highly sensitive and fast detection system was used (10 kHz). The spatial resolution was improved using a small (50-200 microm diameter) multimode fiberoptic. Mechanical artifacts were effectively reduced by inserting the fiberoptic into a "floating" glass micropipette sealed to the heart wall with negative pressure. Our results demonstrate that local-field fluorescence microscopy offers an outstanding experimental approach for studying physiological signals at the whole-organ level with the high spatio-temporal resolution common to normal cellular approaches.

Developmental Changes of Intracellular Ca2+ Transients in Beating Rat Hearts

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Mar, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 14644760

Postnatal maturation of the rat heart is characterized by major changes in the mechanism of excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling. In the neonate, the t tubules and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) are not fully developed yet. Consequently, Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) does not play a central role in E-C coupling. In the neonate, most of the Ca(2+) that triggers contraction comes through the sarcolemma. In this work, we defined the contribution of the sarcolemmal Ca(2+) entry and the Ca(2+) released from the SR to the Ca(2+) transient during the first 3 wk of postnatal development. To this end, intracellular Ca(2+) transients were measured in whole hearts from neonate rats by using the pulsed local field fluorescence technique. To estimate the contribution of each Ca(2+) flux to the global intracellular Ca(2+) transient, different pharmacological agents were used. Ryanodine was applied to evaluate ryanodine receptor-mediated Ca(2+) release from the SR, nifedipine for dihydropyridine-sensitive L-type Ca(2+) current, Ni(2+) for the current resulting from the reverse-mode Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchange, and mibefradil for the T-type Ca(2+) current. Our results showed that the relative contribution of each Ca(2+) flux changes considerably during the first 3 wk of postnatal development. Early after birth (1-5 days), the sarcolemmal Ca(2+) flux predominates, whereas at 3 wk of age, CICR from the SR is the most important. This transition may reflect the progressive development of the t tube-SR units characteristic of mature myocytes. We have hence directly defined in the whole beating heart the developmental changes of E-C coupling previously evaluated in single (acutely isolated or cultured) cells and multicellular preparations.

Calcium Regulation of Single Ryanodine Receptor Channel Gating Analyzed Using HMM/MCMC Statistical Methods

The Journal of General Physiology. May, 2004  |  Pubmed ID: 15111644

Type-II ryanodine receptor channels (RYRs) play a fundamental role in intracellular Ca(2+) dynamics in heart. The processes of activation, inactivation, and regulation of these channels have been the subject of intensive research and the focus of recent debates. Typically, approaches to understand these processes involve statistical analysis of single RYRs, involving signal restoration, model estimation, and selection. These tasks are usually performed by following rather phenomenological criteria that turn models into self-fulfilling prophecies. Here, a thorough statistical treatment is applied by modeling single RYRs using aggregated hidden Markov models. Inferences are made using Bayesian statistics and stochastic search methods known as Markov chain Monte Carlo. These methods allow extension of the temporal resolution of the analysis far beyond the limits of previous approaches and provide a direct measure of the uncertainties associated with every estimation step, together with a direct assessment of why and where a particular model fails. Analyses of single RYRs at several Ca(2+) concentrations are made by considering 16 models, some of them previously reported in the literature. Results clearly show that single RYRs have Ca(2+)-dependent gating modes. Moreover, our results demonstrate that single RYRs responding to a sudden change in Ca(2+) display adaptation kinetics. Interestingly, best ranked models predict microscopic reversibility when monovalent cations are used as the main permeating species. Finally, the extended bandwidth revealed the existence of novel fast buzz-mode at low Ca(2+) concentrations.

Ryanodine Receptor Function in Newborn Rat Heart

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. May, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 15626694

The role of ryanodine receptor (RyR) in cardiac excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling in newborns (NB) is not completely understood. To determine whether RyR functional properties change during development, we evaluated cellular distribution and functionality of sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in NB rats. Sarcomeric arrangement of immunostained SR Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA2a) and the presence of sizeable caffeine-induced Ca2+ transients demonstrated that functional SR exists in NB. E-C coupling properties were then defined in NB and compared with those in adult rats (AD). Ca2+ transients in NB reflected predominantly sarcolemmal Ca2+ entry, whereas the RyR-mediated component was approximately 13%. Finally, the RyR density and functional properties at the single-channel level in NB were compared with those in AD. Ligand binding assays revealed that in NB, RyR density can be up to 36% of that found in AD, suggesting that some RyRs do not contribute to the Ca2+ transient. To test the hypothesis that RyR functional properties change during development, we incorporated single RyRs into lipid bilayers. Our results show that permeation and gating kinetics of NB RyRs are identical to those of AD. Also, endogenous ligands had similar effects on NB and AD RyRs: sigmoidal Ca2+ dependence, stronger Mg(2+)-induced inhibition at low cytoplasmic Ca2+ concentrations, comparable ATP-activating potency, and caffeine sensitivity. These observations indicate that NB rat heart contains fully functional RyRs and that the smaller contribution of RyR-mediated Ca2+ release to the intracellular Ca2+ transient in NB is not due to different single RyR channel properties or to the absence of functional intracellular Ca2+ stores.

Analysis of Macroscopic Ionic Currents Mediated by GABArho1 Receptors During Lanthanide Modulation Predicts Novel States Controlling Channel Gating

British Journal of Pharmacology. Dec, 2005  |  Pubmed ID: 16231008

Lanthanide-induced modulation of GABA(C) receptors expressed in Xenopus oocytes was studied. We obtained two-electrode voltage-clamp recordings of ionic currents mediated by recombinant homomeric GABArho(1) receptors and performed numerical simulations of kinetic models of the macroscopic ionic currents.GABA-evoked chloride currents were potentiated by La(3+), Lu(3+) and Gd(3+) in the micromolar range. Lanthanide effects were rapid, reversible and voltage independent. The degree of potentiation was reduced by increasing GABA concentration.Lu(3+) also induced receptor desensitization and decreased the deactivation rate of GABArho(1) currents. In the presence of 300 microM Lu(3+), dose-response curves for GABA-evoked currents showed a significant enhancement of the maximum amplitude and an increase of the apparent affinity. The rate of onset of TPMPA and picrotoxin antagonism of GABArho(1) receptors was modulated by Lu(3+). These results suggest that the potentiation of the anionic current was the result of a direct lanthanide-receptor interaction at a site capable of allosterically modulating channel properties. Based on kinetic schemes, which included a second open state and a nonconducting desensitized state that closely reproduced the experimental results, two nonexclusive probable models of GABArho(1) channels gating are proposed.

Phospholamban Phosphorylation Sites Enhance the Recovery of Intracellular Ca2+ After Perfusion Arrest in Isolated, Perfused Mouse Heart

Cardiovascular Research. May, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16516179

To investigate the importance of the phosphorylation of Ser16 and Thr17 sites of phospholamban (PLN) on intracellular Ca2+ (Cai2+) handling and contractile recovery of the stunned myocardium.

IgGs and Mabs Against the Beta2-adrenoreceptor Block A-V Conduction in Mouse Hearts: A Possible Role in the Pathogenesis of Ventricular Arrhythmias

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Jun, 2006  |  Pubmed ID: 16697002

Autoantibodies against beta-adrenoceptors might be involved in different cardiomyopathic diseases such as idopathic dilated cardiomyopathy, Chagas' disease and ventricular arrhythmias. To study the effects of such antibodies on the whole heart, we made use of a new technique allowing the measurement of Ca++ transients as well as action potentials in Langendorff preparations of mouse hearts. Mouse antibodies directed against the second extracellular loop of the beta2-adrenoceptor induced conduction blocks which could be washed away by the beta2-adrenoceptor inverse agonist ICI118,551, confirming the specificity and non-toxicity of these events. These results were confirmed by the use of a monoclonal antibody, monospecific for the beta2-adrenoceptor and the beta2-specific full agonist, clenbuterol. Both increased slightly, but significantly, the beating frequency but their main effect was the production of conduction blocks. In contrast, a monoclonal antibody, monospecific for the beta1-adrenoceptor, highly increased the beating frequency without interfering with the conduction. Our results suggest that stimulation of the beta2-adrenoceptor by anti-receptor antibodies in the conduction tissues leads to conduction disturbances, probably mediated by coupling to a different pathway than the classical Gs pathway. They confirm that anti-beta2 adrenoceptor antibodies could be responsible for ventricular arrhythmias.

Transient Ca2+ Depletion of the Sarcoplasmic Reticulum at the Onset of Reperfusion

Cardiovascular Research. Mar, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 19920131

Myocardial stunning is a contractile dysfunction that occurs after a brief ischaemic insult. Substantial evidence supports that this dysfunction is triggered by Ca2+ overload during reperfusion. The aim of the present manuscript is to define the origin of this Ca2+ increase in the intact heart.

Luminal Ca(2+) Content Regulates Intracellular Ca(2+) Release in Subepicardial Myocytes of Intact Beating Mouse Hearts: Effect of Exogenous Buffers

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Jun, 2010  |  Pubmed ID: 20382849

Ca(+)-induced Ca(2+) release tightly controls the function of ventricular cardiac myocytes under normal and pathological conditions. Two major factors contributing to the regulation of Ca(2+) release are the cytosolic free Ca(2+) concentration and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) content. We hypothesized that the amount of Ca(2+) released from the SR during each heart beat strongly defines the refractoriness of Ca(2+) release. To test this hypothesis, EGTA AM, a high-affinity, slow-association rate Ca(2+) chelator, was used as a tool to modify luminal SR Ca(2+) content. An analysis of the cytosolic and luminal SR Ca(2+) dynamics recorded from the epicardial layer of intact mouse hearts indicated that the presence of EGTA reduced the diastolic SR free Ca(2+) concentration and fraction of SR Ca(2+) depletion during each beat. In addition, this maneuver shortened the refractory period and accelerated the restitution of Ca(2+) release. As a consequence of the accelerated restitution, the frequency dependence of Ca(2+) alternans was significantly shifted toward higher heart rates, suggesting a role of luminal SR Ca(2+) in the genesis of this highly arrhythmogenic phenomenon. Thus, intra-SR Ca(2+) dynamics set the refractoriness and frequency dependence of Ca(2+) transients in subepicardial ventricular myocytes.

Beat-to-beat Ca(2+)-dependent Regulation of Sinoatrial Nodal Pacemaker Cell Rate and Rhythm

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Dec, 2011  |  Pubmed ID: 21963899

Whether intracellular Ca(2+) regulates sinoatrial node cell (SANC) action potential (AP) firing rate on a beat-to-beat basis is controversial. To directly test the hypothesis of beat-to-beat intracellular Ca(2+) regulation of the rate and rhythm of SANC we loaded single isolated SANC with a caged Ca(2+) buffer, NP-EGTA, and simultaneously recorded membrane potential and intracellular Ca(2+). Prior to introduction of the caged Ca(2+) buffer, spontaneous local Ca(2+) releases (LCRs) during diastolic depolarization were tightly coupled to rhythmic APs (r²=0.9). The buffer markedly prolonged the decay time (T₅₀) and moderately reduced the amplitude of the AP-induced Ca(2+) transient and partially depleted the SR load, suppressed spontaneous diastolic LCRs and uncoupled them from AP generation, and caused AP firing to become markedly slower and dysrhythmic. When Ca(2+) was acutely released from the caged compound by flash photolysis, intracellular Ca(2+) dynamics were acutely restored and rhythmic APs resumed immediately at a normal rate. After a few rhythmic cycles, however, these effects of the flash waned as interference with Ca(2+) dynamics by the caged buffer was reestablished. Our results directly support the hypothesis that intracellular Ca(2+) regulates normal SANC automaticity on a beat-to-beat basis.

Calsequestrin 2 Deletion Shortens the Refractoriness of Ca²⁺ Release and Reduces Rate-dependent Ca²⁺-alternans in Intact Mouse Hearts

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Jan, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 21983287

Calsequestrin (Casq2) is a low affinity Ca(2+)-binding protein located in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) of cardiac myocytes. Casq2 acts as a Ca(2+) buffer regulating free Ca(2+) concentration in the SR lumen and plays a significant role in the regulation of Ca(2+) release from this intracellular organelle. In addition, there is experimental evidence supporting the hypothesis that Casq2 also modulates the activity of the cardiac Ca(2+) release channels, ryanodine receptors (RyR2). In this study, Casq2 knockout mice (Casq2-/-) were used as a model to evaluate the effects of the Casq2 on the cytosolic and intra-SR Ca(2+) dynamics, and the electrical activity in the ventricular epicardial layer of intact beating hearts. Casq2-/- mice have accelerated intra-SR Ca(2+) refilling kinetics (76 ± 22 vs. 136.5 ± 15 ms) and a reduced refractoriness of Ca(2+) release (182 ± 32 ms Casq2+/+ and 111 ± 22 ms Casq2-/- ). In addition, mice display reduced Ca(2+) alternans (67% decline in the amplitude of Ca(2+) alternans at 7 Hz, 21oC) and less T-wave alternans at the electrocardiographic level. The results presented in this paper support the idea of Casq2 acting both as a buffer and a direct regulator of the Ca(2+) release process. Finally, we propose that alterations in Ca(2+) release refractoriness shown here could explain the relationship between Casq2 function and an increase in the risk for ventricular arrhythmias.

Intracellular Ca2+ Release Underlies the Development of Phase 2 in Mouse Ventricular Action Potentials

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. Mar, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22198177

The ventricular action potential (AP) is characterized by a fast depolarizing phase followed by a repolarization that displays a second upstroke known as phase 2. This phase is generally not present in mouse ventricular myocytes. Thus we performed colocalized electrophysiological and optical recordings of APs in Langendorff-perfused mouse hearts founding a noticeable phase 2. Ryanodine as well as nifedipine reduced phase 2. Our hypothesis is that a depolarizing current activated by Ca(2+) released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) rather than the "electrogenicity" of the L-type Ca(2+) current is crucial in the generation of mouse ventricular phase 2. When Na(+) was partially replaced by Li(+) in the extracellular perfusate or the organ was cooled down, phase 2 was reduced. These results suggest that the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger functioning in the forward mode is driving the depolarizing current that defines phase 2. Phase 2 appears to be an intrinsic characteristic of single isolated myocytes and not an emergent property of the tissue. As in whole heart experiments, ventricular myocytes impaled with microelectrodes displayed a large phase 2 that significantly increases when temperature was raised from 22 to 37°C. We conclude that mouse ventricular APs display a phase 2; however, changes in Ca(2+) dynamics and thermodynamic parameters also diminish phase 2, mostly by impairing the Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger. In summary, these results provide important insights about the role of Ca(2+) release in AP ventricular repolarization under physiological and pathological conditions.

Coupled Gating of Skeletal Muscle Ryanodine Receptors is Modulated by Ca2+, Mg2+, and ATP

American Journal of Physiology. Cell Physiology. Sep, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22785120

Coupled gating (synchronous openings and closures) of groups of skeletal muscle ryanodine receptors (RyR1), which mimics RyR1-mediated Ca(2+) release underlying Ca(2+) sparks, was first described by Marx et al. (Marx SO, Ondrias K, Marks AR. Science 281: 818-821, 1998). The nature of the RyR1-RyR1 interactions for coupled gating still needs to be characterized. Consequently, we defined planar lipid bilayer conditions where ∼25% of multichannel reconstitutions contain mixtures of coupled and independently gating RyR1. In ∼10% of the cases, all RyRs (2-10 channels; most frequently 3-4) gated in coupled fashion, allowing for quantification. Our results indicated that coupling required cytosolic solutions containing ATP/Mg(2+) and high (50 mM) luminal Ca(2+) (Ca(lum)) or Sr(2+) solutions. Bursts of coupled activity (events) started and ended abruptly, with all channels activating/deactivating within ∼300 μs. Coupled RyR1 were heterogeneous, where highly active RyR1 ("drivers") seemed open during the entire coupled event (P(o) = 1), while other RyR1s ("followers") displayed abundant flickering and smaller amplitude. Drivers mean open time increased with cytosolic Ca(2+) (Ca(cyt)) or caffeine, whereas followers flicker frequency was Ca(cyt) independent and more sensitive to inhibition by cytosolic Mg(2+). Coupled events were insensitive to varying lumen-to-cytosol Ca(2+) fluxes from ∼1 to 8 pA, which does not corroborate coupling of neighboring RyR1 by local Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release. However, coupling requires specific Ca(lum) sites, as it was lost when Ca(lum) was replaced by luminal Ba(2+) or Mg(2+). In summary, coupled events reveal complex interactions among heterogeneous RyR1, differentially modulated by cytosolic ATP/Mg(2+), Ca(cyt), and Ca(lum,) which under cell-like ionic conditions may parallel synchronous RyR1 gating during Ca(2+) sparks.

Role of Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate in the Regulation of Ventricular Ca(2+) Signaling in Intact Mouse Heart

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Dec, 2012  |  Pubmed ID: 22960455

Inositol 1,4,5-trisphosphate (InsP(3)R)-mediated Ca(2+) signaling is a major pathway regulating multiple cellular functions in excitable and non-excitable cells. Although InsP(3)-mediated Ca(2+) signaling has been extensively described, its influence on ventricular myocardium activity has not been addressed in contracting hearts at the whole-organ level. In this work, InsP(3)-sensitive intracellular Ca(2+) signals were studied in intact hearts using laser scanning confocal microscopy and pulsed local-field fluorescence microscopy. Intracellular [InsP(3)] was rapidly increased by UV flash photolysis of membrane-permeant caged InsP(3). Our results indicate that the basal [Ca(2+)] increased after the flash photolysis of caged InsP(3) without affecting the action potential (AP)-induced Ca(2+) transients. The amplitude of the basal [Ca(2+)] elevation depended on the intracellular [InsP(3)] reached after the UV flash. Pretreatment with ryanodine failed to abolish the InsP(3)-induced Ca(2+) release (IICR), indicating that this response was not mediated by ryanodine receptors (RyR). Thapsigargin prevented Ca(2+) release from both RyR- and InsP(3)R-containing Ca(2+) stores, suggesting that these pools have similar Ca(2+) reuptake mechanisms. These results were reproduced in acutely isolated cells where photorelease of InsP(3) was able to induce changes in endothelial cells but not in AP-induced transients from cardiomyocytes. Taken together, these results suggest that IICR does not directly regulate cardiac excitation-contraction coupling. To our knowledge, this is the first demonstration of IICR in intact hearts. Consequently, our work provides a reference framework of the spatiotemporal attributes of the IICR under physiological conditions.

Cardiac Alternans and Ventricular Fibrillation: a Bad Case of Ryanodine Receptors Reneging on Their Duty

Circulation Research. Apr, 2014  |  Pubmed ID: 24763460

Ca2+ Sparks and Ca2+ Waves Are the Subcellular Events Underlying Ca2+ Overload During Ischemia and Reperfusion in Perfused Intact Hearts

Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology. Feb, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25451173

Abnormal intracellular Ca(2+) cycling plays a key role in cardiac dysfunction, particularly during the setting of ischemia/reperfusion (I/R). During ischemia, there is an increase in cytosolic and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+). At the onset of reperfusion, there is a transient and abrupt increase in cytosolic Ca(2++), which occurs timely associated with reperfusion arrhythmias. However, little is known about the subcellular dynamics of Ca(2+) increase during I/R, and a possible role of the SR as a mechanism underlying this increase has been previously overlooked. The aim of the present work is to test two main hypotheses: (1) An increase diastolic Ca(2+) sparks frequency (cspf) constitutes a mayor substrate for the ischemia-induced diastolic Ca(2+) increase; (2) an increase in cytosolic Ca(2+) pro-arrhythmogenic events (Ca(2+) waves), mediates the abrupt diastolic Ca(2+) rise at the onset of reperfusion. We used confocal microscopy on mouse intact hearts loaded with Fluo-4. Hearts were submitted to global I/R (12/30 min) to assess epicardial Ca(2+) sparks in the whole heart. Intact heart sparks were faster than in isolated myocytes whereas cspf was not different. During ischemia, cspf significantly increased relative to preischemia (2.07±0.33 vs. 1.13±0.20 sp/s/100 μm, n=29/34, 7 hearts). Reperfusion significantly changed Ca(2+) sparks kinetics, by prolonging Ca(2+) sparks rise time and decreased cspf. However, it significantly increased Ca(2+) wave frequency relative to ischemia (0.71±0.14 vs. 0.38±0.06 w/s/100 μm, n=32/33, 7 hearts). The results show for the first time the assessment of intact perfused heart Ca(2+) sparks and provides direct evidence of increased Ca(2+) sparks in ischemia that transform into Ca(2+) waves during reperfusion. These waves may constitute a main trigger for reperfusion arrhythmias.

Chasing Cardiac Physiology and Pathology Down the CaMKII Cascade

American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology. May, 2015  |  Pubmed ID: 25747749

Calcium dynamics is central in cardiac physiology, as the key event leading to the excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) and relaxation processes. The primary function of Ca(2+) in the heart is the control of mechanical activity developed by the myofibril contractile apparatus. This key role of Ca(2+) signaling explains the subtle and critical control of important events of ECC and relaxation, such as Ca(2+) influx and SR Ca(2+) release and uptake. The multifunctional Ca(2+)-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is a signaling molecule that regulates a diverse array of proteins involved not only in ECC and relaxation but also in cell death, transcriptional activation of hypertrophy, inflammation, and arrhythmias. CaMKII activity is triggered by an increase in intracellular Ca(2+) levels. This activity can be sustained, creating molecular memory after the decline in Ca(2+) concentration, by autophosphorylation of the enzyme, as well as by oxidation, glycosylation, and nitrosylation at different sites of the regulatory domain of the kinase. CaMKII activity is enhanced in several cardiac diseases, altering the signaling pathways by which CaMKII regulates the different fundamental proteins involved in functional and transcriptional cardiac processes. Dysregulation of these pathways constitutes a central mechanism of various cardiac disease phenomena, like apoptosis and necrosis during ischemia/reperfusion injury, digitalis exposure, post-acidosis and heart failure arrhythmias, or cardiac hypertrophy. Here we summarize significant aspects of the molecular physiology of CaMKII and provide a conceptual framework for understanding the role of the CaMKII cascade on Ca(2+) regulation and dysregulation in cardiac health and disease.

Intact Heart Loose Patch Photolysis Reveals Ionic Current Kinetics During Ventricular Action Potentials

Circulation Research. Jan, 2016  |  Pubmed ID: 26565013

Assessing the underlying ionic currents during a triggered action potential (AP) in intact perfused hearts offers the opportunity to link molecular mechanisms with pathophysiological problems in cardiovascular research. The developed loose patch photolysis technique can provide striking new insights into cardiac function at the whole heart level during health and disease.

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