Several studies have indicated that diaphragm dysfunction develops in patients on mechanical ventilation (MV). Here, we tested the hypothesis that the contractility of sarcomeres, i.e., the smallest contractile unit in muscle, is affected in humans on MV. To this end, we compared diaphragm muscle fibers of nine brain-dead organ donors (cases) that had been on MV for 26 ± 5 h with diaphragm muscle fibers from nine patients (controls) undergoing surgery for lung cancer that had been on MV for less than 2 h. In each diaphragm specimen we determined 1) muscle fiber cross-sectional area in cryosections by immunohistochemical methods and 2) the contractile performance of permeabilized single muscle fibers by means of maximum specific force, kinetics of cross-bridge cycling by rate of tension redevelopment, myosin heavy chain content and concentration, and calcium sensitivity of force of slow-twitch and fast-twitch muscle fibers. In case subjects, we noted no statistically significant decrease in outcomes compared with controls in slow-twitch or fast-twitch muscle fibers. These observations indicate that 26 h of MV of humans is not invariably associated with changes in the contractile performance of sarcomeres in the diaphragm.
The first mutation associated with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the R403Q mutation in the gene encoding ?-myosin heavy chain (?-MyHC). R403Q locates in the globular head of myosin (S1), responsible for interaction with actin, and thus motor function of myosin. Increased cross-bridge relaxation kinetics caused by the R403Q mutation might underlie increased energetic cost of tension generation; however, direct evidence is absent. Here we studied to what extent cross-bridge kinetics and energetics are related in single cardiac myofibrils and multicellular cardiac muscle strips of three HCM patients with the R403Q mutation and nine sarcomere mutation-negative HCM patients (HCMsmn). Expression of R403Q was on average 41 ± 4% of total MYH7 mRNA. Cross-bridge slow relaxation kinetics in single R403Q myofibrils was significantly higher (P < 0.0001) than in HCMsmn myofibrils (0.47 ± 0.02 and 0.30 ± 0.02 s(-1), respectively). Moreover, compared to HCMsmn, tension cost was significantly higher in the muscle strips of the three R403Q patients (2.93 ± 0.25 and 1.78 ± 0.10 ?mol l(-1) s(-1) kN(-1) m(-2), respectively) which showed a positive linear correlation with relaxation kinetics in the corresponding myofibril preparations. This correlation suggests that faster cross-bridge relaxation kinetics results in an increase in energetic cost of tension generation in human HCM with the R403Q mutation compared to HCMsmn. Therefore, increased tension cost might contribute to HCM disease in patients carrying the R403Q mutation.
Right ventricular (RV) diastolic function is impaired in patients with pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH). Our previous study showed that elevated cardiomyocyte stiffness and myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity underlie diastolic dysfunction in PAH. This study investigates protein modifications contributing to cellular diastolic dysfunction in PAH.
Disease mechanisms regarding hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) are largely unknown and disease onset varies. Sarcomere mutations might induce energy depletion for which until now there is no direct evidence at sarcomere level in human HCM. This study investigated if mutations in genes encoding myosin-binding protein C (MYBPC3) and myosin heavy chain (MYH7) underlie changes in the energetic cost of contraction in the development of human HCM disease.
Protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated phosphorylation of troponin I (cTnI) at Ser42/44 is increased in heart failure. While studies in rodents demonstrated that PKC-mediated Ser42/44 phosphorylation decreases maximal force and ATPase activity, PKC incubation of human cardiomyocytes did not affect maximal force. We investigated whether Ser42/44 pseudo-phosphorylation affects force development and ATPase activity using troponin exchange in human myocardium. Additionally, we studied if pseudo-phosphorylated Ser42/44 modulates length-dependent activation of force, which is regulated by protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated cTnI-Ser23/24 phosphorylation. Isometric force was measured in membrane-permeabilized cardiomyocytes exchanged with human recombinant wild-type troponin or troponin mutated at Ser42/44 or Ser23/24 into aspartic acid (D) or alanine (A) to mimic phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively. In troponin-exchanged donor cardiomyocytes experiments were repeated after PKA incubation. ATPase activity was measured in troponin-exchanged cardiac muscle strips. Compared to wild-type, 42D/44D decreased Ca(2+)-sensitivity without affecting maximal force in failing and donor cardiomyocytes. In donor myocardium, 42D/44D did not affect maximal ATPase activity or tension cost. Interestingly, 42D/44D blunted the length-dependent increase in Ca(2+)-sensitivity induced upon PKA-mediated phosphorylation. Since the drop in Ca(2+)-sensitivity at physiological Ca(2+)-concentrations is relatively large phosphorylation of Ser42/44 may result in a decrease of force and associated ATP utilization in the human heart.
Frank-Starling's law reflects the ability of the heart to adjust the force of its contraction to changes in ventricular filling, a property based on length-dependent myofilament activation (LDA). The threonine at amino acid 143 of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) is prerequisite for the length-dependent increase in Ca(2+) sensitivity. Thr143 is a known target of protein kinase C (PKC) whose activity is increased in cardiac disease. Thr143 phosphorylation may modulate length-dependent myofilament activation in failing hearts. Therefore, we investigated if pseudo-phosphorylation at Thr143 modulates length dependence of force using troponin exchange experiments in human cardiomyocytes. In addition, we studied effects of protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated cTnI phosphorylation at Ser23/24, which has been reported to modulate LDA. Isometric force was measured at various Ca(2+) concentrations in membrane-permeabilized cardiomyocytes exchanged with recombinant wild-type (WT) troponin or troponin mutated at the PKC site Thr143 or Ser23/24 into aspartic acid (D) or alanine (A) to mimic phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively. In troponin-exchanged donor cardiomyocytes experiments were repeated after incubation with exogenous PKA. Pseudo-phosphorylation of Thr143 increased myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity compared with WT without affecting LDA in failing and donor cardiomyocytes. Subsequent PKA treatment enhanced the length-dependent shift in Ca(2+) sensitivity after WT and 143D exchange. Exchange with Ser23/24 variants demonstrated that pseudo-phosphorylation of both Ser23 and Ser24 is needed to enhance the length-dependent increase in Ca(2+) sensitivity. cTnI pseudo-phosphorylation did not alter length-dependent changes in maximal force. Thus phosphorylation at Thr143 enhances myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity without affecting LDA, while Ser23/24 bisphosphorylation is needed to enhance the length-dependent increase in myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity.
After lung transplantation, increased left ventricular (LV) filling can lead to LV failure, increasing the risk of post-operative complications and mortality. LV dysfunction in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is characterized by a reduced LV ejection fraction and impaired diastolic function.
The role of right ventricular (RV) diastolic stiffness in pulmonary arterial hypertension (PAH) is not well established. Therefore, we investigated the presence and possible underlying mechanisms of RV diastolic stiffness in PAH patients.
Although muscle weakness is a hallmark of facioscapulohumeral muscular dystrophy (FSHD), the molecular mechanisms that lead to weakness in FSHD remain largely unknown. Recent studies suggest aberrant expression of genes involved in skeletal muscle development and sarcomere contractility, and activation of pathways involved in sarcomeric protein degradation. This study will investigate the contribution of sarcomeric protein dysfunction to the pathogenesis of muscle weakness in FSHD.
Mutations in the MYBPC3 gene, encoding cardiac myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) are frequent causes of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM). Previously, we have presented evidence for reduced cMyBP-C expression (haploinsufficiency), in patients with a truncation mutation in MYBPC3. In mice, lacking cMyBP-C cross-bridge kinetics was accelerated. In this study, we investigated whether cross-bridge kinetics was altered in myectomy samples from HCM patients harboring heterozygous MYBPC3 mutations (MYBPC3mut). Isometric force and the rate of force redevelopment (k tr) at different activating Ca(2+) concentrations were measured in mechanically isolated Triton-permeabilized cardiomyocytes from MYBPC3mut (n?=?18) and donor (n?=?7) tissue. Furthermore, the stretch activation response of cardiomyocytes was measured in tissue from eight MYBPC3mut patients and five donors to assess the rate of initial force relaxation (k 1) and the rate and magnitude of the transient increase in force (k 2 and P 3, respectively) after a rapid stretch. Maximal force development of the cardiomyocytes was reduced in MYBPC3mut (24.5?±?2.3 kN/m(2)) compared to donor (34.9?±?1.6 kN/m(2)). The rates of force redevelopment in MYBPC3mut and donor over a range of Ca(2+) concentrations were similar (k tr at maximal activation: 0.63?±?0.03 and 0.75?±?0.09 s(-1), respectively). Moreover, the stretch activation parameters did not differ significantly between MYBPC3mut and donor (k 1: 8.5±0.5 and 8.8?±?0.4 s(-1); k 2: 0.77?±?0.06 and 0.74?±?0.09 s(-1); P 3: 0.08?±?0.01 and 0.09?±?0.01, respectively). Incubation with protein kinase A accelerated k 1 in MYBPC3mut and donor to a similar extent. Our experiments indicate that, at the cMyBP-C expression levels in this patient group (63?±?6 % relative to donors), cross-bridge kinetics are preserved and that the depressed maximal force development is not explained by perturbation of cross-bridge kinetics.
Nebulin--a giant sarcomeric protein--plays a pivotal role in skeletal muscle contractility by specifying thin filament length and function. Although mutations in the gene encoding nebulin (NEB) are a frequent cause of nemaline myopathy, the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy, the mechanisms by which mutations in NEB cause muscle weakness remain largely unknown. To better understand these mechanisms, we have generated a mouse model in which Neb exon 55 is deleted (Neb(?Exon55)) to replicate a founder mutation seen frequently in patients with nemaline myopathy with Ashkenazi Jewish heritage. Neb(?Exon55) mice are born close to Mendelian ratios, but show growth retardation after birth. Electron microscopy studies show nemaline bodies--a hallmark feature of nemaline myopathy--in muscle fibres from Neb(?Exon55) mice. Western blotting studies with nebulin-specific antibodies reveal reduced nebulin levels in muscle from Neb(?Exon55) mice, and immunofluorescence confocal microscopy studies with tropomodulin antibodies and phalloidin reveal that thin filament length is significantly reduced. In line with reduced thin filament length, the maximal force generating capacity of permeabilized muscle fibres and single myofibrils is reduced in Neb(?Exon55) mice with a more pronounced reduction at longer sarcomere lengths. Finally, in Neb(?Exon55) mice the regulation of contraction is impaired, as evidenced by marked changes in crossbridge cycling kinetics and by a reduction of the calcium sensitivity of force generation. A novel drug that facilitates calcium binding to the thin filament significantly augmented the calcium sensitivity of submaximal force to levels that exceed those observed in untreated control muscle. In conclusion, we have characterized the first nebulin-based nemaline myopathy model, which recapitulates important features of the phenotype observed in patients harbouring this particular mutation, and which has severe muscle weakness caused by thin filament dysfunction.
Familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), frequently caused by sarcomeric gene mutations, is characterized by cellular dysfunction and asymmetric left-ventricular (LV) hypertrophy. We studied whether cellular dysfunction is due to an intrinsic sarcomere defect or cardiomyocyte remodelling.
Nemaline myopathy-the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy-is caused by mutations in thin filament genes, of which the nebulin gene is the most frequently affected one. The nebulin gene codes for the giant sarcomeric protein nebulin, which plays a crucial role in skeletal muscle contractile performance. Muscle weakness is a hallmark feature of nemaline myopathy patients with nebulin mutations, and is caused by changes in contractile protein function, including a lower calcium-sensitivity of force generation. To date no therapy exists to treat muscle weakness in nemaline myopathy. Here, we studied the ability of the novel fast skeletal muscle troponin activator, CK-2066260, to augment force generation at submaximal calcium levels in muscle cells from nemaline myopathy patients with nebulin mutations.
High-myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity has been proposed as a trigger of disease pathogenesis in familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) on the basis of in vitro and transgenic mice studies. However, myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity depends on protein phosphorylation and muscle length, and at present, data in humans are scarce.
Familial Hypertrophic Cardiomyopathy (FHC) is frequently caused by mutations in the ?-cardiac myosin heavy chain (?-MyHC). To identify changes in sarcomeric function triggered by such mutations, distinguishing mutation effects from other functional alterations of the myocardium is essential. We previously identified a direct effect of mutation R723G (MyHC723) on myosin function in slow Musculus soleus fibers. Here we investigate contractile features of left ventricular cardiomyocytes of FHC-patients with the same MyHC723-mutation and compare these to the soleus data. In mechanically isolated, triton-permeabilized MyHC723-cardiomyocytes, maximum force was significantly lower but calcium-sensitivity was unchanged compared to donor. Conversely, MyHC723-soleus fibers showed significantly higher maximum force and reduced calcium-sensitivity compared to controls. Protein phosphorylation, a potential myocardium specific modifying mechanism, might account for differences compared to soleus fibers. Analysis revealed reduced phosphorylation of troponin I and T, myosin-binding-protein C, and myosin-light-chain 2 in MyHC723-myocardium compared to donor. Saturation of protein-kinaseA phospho-sites led to comparable, i.e., reduced MyHC723-calcium-sensitivity in cardiomyocytes as in M. soleus fibers, while maximum force remained reduced. Myofibrillar disarray and lower density of myofibrils, however, largely account for reduced maximum force in MyHC723-cardiomyocytes. The changes seen when phosphorylation of sarcomeric proteins in myocardium of affected patients is matched to control tissue suggest that the R723G mutation causes reduced Ca(++)-sensitivity in both cardiomyocytes and M. soleus fibers. In MyHC723-myocardium, however, hypophosphorylation can compensate for the reduced calcium-sensitivity, while maximum force generation, lowered by myofibrillar deficiency and disarray, remains impaired, and may only be compensated by hypertrophy.
Protein kinase C? (PKC?) is one of the predominant PKC isoforms that phosphorylate cardiac troponin. PKC? is implicated in heart failure and serves as a potential therapeutic target, however, the exact consequences for contractile function in human myocardium are unclear. This study aimed to investigate the effects of PKC? phosphorylation of cardiac troponin (cTn) on myofilament function in human failing cardiomyocytes and to resolve the potential targets involved.
Mitochondrial calcium handling and its relation with calcium released from sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in muscle tissue are subject of lively debate. In this study we aimed to clarify how the SR determines mitochondrial calcium handling using dCASQ-null mice which lack both isoforms of the major Ca(2+)-binding protein inside SR, calsequestrin. Mitochondrial free Ca(2+)-concentration ([Ca(2+)]mito) was determined by means of a genetically targeted ratiometric FRET-based probe. Electron microscopy revealed a highly significant increase in intermyofibrillar mitochondria (+55%) and augmented coupling (+12%) between Ca(2+) release units of the SR and mitochondria in dCASQ-null vs. WT fibers. Significant differences in the baseline [Ca(2+)]mito were observed between quiescent WT and dCASQ-null fibers, but not in the resting cytosolic Ca(2+) concentration. The rise in [Ca(2+)]mito during electrical stimulation occurred in 20-30 ms, while the decline during and after stimulation was governed by 4 rate constants of approximately 40, 1.6, 0.2 and 0.03 s(-1). Accordingly, frequency-dependent increase in [Ca(2+)]mito occurred during sustained contractions. In dCASQ-null fibers the increases in [Ca(2+)]mito were less pronounced than in WT fibers and even lower when extracellular calcium was removed. The amplitude and duration of [Ca(2+)]mito transients were increased by inhibition of mitochondrial Na(+)/Ca(2+) exchanger (mNCX). These results provide direct evidence for fast Ca(2+) accumulation inside the mitochondria, involvement of the mNCX in mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling and a dependence of mitochondrial Ca(2+)-handling on intracellular (SR) and external Ca(2+) stores in fast skeletal muscle fibers. dCASQ-null mice represent a model for malignant hyperthermia. The differences in structure and in mitochondrial function observed relative to WT may represent compensatory mechanisms for the disease-related reduction of calcium storage capacity of the SR and/or SR Ca(2+)-leakage.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM), typically characterized by asymmetrical left ventricular hypertrophy, frequently is caused by mutations in sarcomeric proteins. We studied if changes in sarcomeric properties in HCM depend on the underlying protein mutation.
Postoperative pulmonary complications are significant contributors to morbidity in patients who have undergone upper abdominal, thoracic, or cardiac surgery. The pathophysiology of these complications might involve postoperative inspiratory muscle weakness. The nature of postoperative inspiratory muscle weakness is unknown.
Aortic stenosis (AS) and diabetes mellitus (DM) are frequent comorbidities in aging populations. In heart failure, DM worsens diastolic left ventricular (LV) dysfunction, thereby adversely affecting symptoms and prognosis. Effects of DM on diastolic LV function were therefore assessed in aortic stenosis, and underlying myocardial mechanisms were identified.
Protein phosphatase (PP) type 2A is a multifunctional serine/threonine phosphatase that is involved in cardiac excitation-contraction coupling. The PP2A core enzyme is a dimer, consisting of a catalytic C and a scaffolding A subunit, which is targeted to several cardiac proteins by a regulatory B subunit. At present, it is controversial whether PP2A and its subunits play a critical role in end-stage human heart failure. Here we report that the application of purified PP2AC significantly increased the Ca2+-sensitivity (?pCa50=0.05±0.01) of the contractile apparatus in isolated skinned myocytes of non-failing (NF) hearts. A higher phosphorylation of troponin I (cTnI) was found at protein kinase A sites (Ser23/24) in NF compared to failing myocardium. The basal Ca2+-responsiveness of myofilaments was enhanced in myocytes of ischemic (ICM, ?pCa50=0.10±0.03) and dilated (DCM, ?pCa50=0.06±0.04) cardiomyopathy compared to NF. However, in contrast to NF myocytes the treatment with PP2AC did not shift force-pCa relationships in failing myocytes. The higher basal Ca2+-sensitivity in failing myocytes coincided with a reduced protein expression of PP2AC in left ventricular tissue from patients suffering from ICM and DCM (by 50 and 56% compared to NF, respectively). However, PP2A activity was unchanged in failing hearts despite an increase of both total PP and PP1 activity. The expression of PP2AB56? was also decreased by 51 and 62% in ICM and DCM compared to NF, respectively. The phosphorylation of cTnI at Ser23/24 was reduced by 66 and 49% in ICM and DCM compared to NF hearts, respectively. Our results demonstrate that PP2A increases myofilament Ca2+-sensitivity in NF human hearts, most likely via cTnI dephosphorylation. This effect is not present in failing hearts, probably due to the lower baseline cTnI phosphorylation in failing compared to non-failing hearts.
Aim: Transmural differences in sarcomeric protein composition and function across the left ventricular (LV) wall have been reported. We studied in pigs sarcomeric function and protein phosphorylation in subepicardial (EPI) and subendocardial (ENDO) layers of remote LV myocardium after myocardial infarction (MI), induced by left circumflex coronary artery ligation. Methods: EPI and ENDO samples were taken 3?weeks after sham surgery (n?=?12) or induction of MI (n?=?12) at baseline (BL) and during ?-adrenergic receptor (?AR) stimulation with dobutamine. Isometric force was measured in single cardiomyocytes at various [Ca(2+)] and 2.2??m sarcomere length. Results: In sham hearts, no significant transmural differences were observed in myofilament function or protein phosphorylation. Myofilament Ca(2+)-sensitivity was significantly higher in both EPI and ENDO of MI compared to sham hearts. Maximal force was significantly reduced in MI compared to sham, but solely in ENDO cells. A higher passive force was observed in MI hearts, but only in EPI cells. The proportion of stiff N2B isoform was higher in EPI than in ENDO in both sham and MI hearts, and a trend toward increased N2B-proportion appeared in MI EPI, but not MI Endo. Analysis of myofilament protein phosphorylation did not reveal significant transmural differences in phosphorylation of myosin binding protein C, desmin, troponin T, troponin I (cTnI), and myosin light chain 2 (MLC-2) both at BL and during ?AR stimulation with dobutamine infusion. A significant increase in MLC-2 phosphorylation was observed during dobutamine only in sham. In addition, the increase in cTnI phosphorylation upon dobutamine was twofold lower in MI than in sham. Conclusion: Myofilament dysfunction is present in both EPI and ENDO in post-MI remodeled myocardium, but shows a high degree of qualitative heterogeneity across the LV wall. These heterogeneous transmural changes in sarcomeric properties likely contribute differently to systolic vs. diastolic global LV dysfunction after MI.
Introduction. Recent work revealed the development of marked muscle fiber weakness in the diaphragm, but not in the non-respiratory latissimus dorsi, during thoracic surgery. To disentangle the molecular processes that underlie the development of diaphragm muscle fiber weakness during thoracic surgery, we studied changes in the gene expression profile. Methods. Serial biopsies from the diaphragm and the latissimus dorsi muscle were obtained from four patients during thoracotomy for resection of a tumor in the right lung. Biopsies were taken as soon as the diaphragm had been exposed (t0) and again after two hours (t2). Gobal differences in gene expression in diaphragm biopsies were assessed by microarray analysis. Results. 346 differentially expressed gene transcripts were found in the diaphragm at t2 vs. t0. Pathway analysis revealed that genes associated with inflammation (83 genes; p<0.0001) and cell death (118 genes, p<0.0001) pathways were significantly overexpressed at t2. Of the 346 differentially expressed genes in the diaphragm at t2, 258 were also differential in the latissimus dorsi muscle, with the direction of change being identical for all differentially expressed genes. In addition, latissimus dorsi showed exclusive upregula-ton of negative regulators of cell death. Conclusions. Two hours of thoracic surgery result in rapid and profound changes in expression of inflammatory response and apoptotic genes in the diaphragm. The apoptotic response was stronger in the diaphragm than in the latissiums dorsi. These findings suggest that the development of selective diaphragm muscle fiber weakness in these patients might be related to an exaggerated apoptotic response.
Nemaline myopathy, the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy, is caused by mutations in six genes, all of which encode thin-filament proteins, including NEB (nebulin) and TPM3 (? tropomyosin). In contrast to the mechanisms underlying weakness in NEB-based myopathy, which are related to loss of thin-filament functions normally exerted by nebulin, the pathogenesis of muscle weakness in patients with TPM3 mutations remains largely unknown. Here, we tested the hypothesis that the contractile phenotype of TPM3-based myopathy is different from that of NEB-based myopathy and that this phenotype is a direct consequence of the loss of the specific functions normally exerted by tropomyosin. To test this hypothesis, we used a multidisciplinary approach, including muscle fiber mechanics and confocal and electron microscopy to characterize the structural and functional phenotype of muscle fibers from five patients with TPM3-based myopathy and compared this with that of unaffected control subjects. Our findings demonstrate that patients with TPM3-based myopathy display a contractile phenotype that is very distinct from that of patients with NEB-based myopathy. Whereas both show severe myofilament-based muscle weakness, the contractile dysfunction in TPM3-based myopathy is largely explained by changes in cross-bridge cycling kinetics, but not by the dysregulation of sarcomeric thin-filament length that plays a prominent role in NEB-based myopathy. Interestingly, the loss of force-generating capacity in TPM3-based myopathy appears to be compensated by enhanced thin-filament activation. These findings provide a scientific basis for differential therapeutics aimed at restoring contractile performance in patients with TPM3-based versus NEB-based myopathy.
Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is a familial disorder characterized by left ventricular hypertrophy in the absence of other cardiac or systemic disease likely to cause this hypertrophy. HCM is considered a disease of the sarcomere as most causal mutations are identified in genes encoding sarcomeric proteins, although several other disorders have also been linked to the HCM phenotype. The clinical course of HCM is characterized by a large inter- and intrafamilial variability, ranging from severe symptomatic HCM to asymptomatic individuals. The general picture emerges that the underlying pathophysiology of HCM is complex and still scarcely clarified. Recent findings indicated that both functional and morphological (macroscopic and microscopic) changes of the HCM muscle are present before the occurrence of HCM phenotype. This review aims to provide an overview of the myocardial alterations that occur during the gradual process of wall thickening in HCM on a myofilament level, as well as the structural and functional abnormalities that can be observed in genetically affected individuals prior to the development of HCM with state of the art imaging techniques, such as tissue Doppler echocardiography and cardiovascular magnetic resonance imaging. Additionally, present and future therapeutic options will be briefly discussed.
Activation of the ?-adrenergic receptor (?AR) pathway is the main mechanism of the heart to increase cardiac output via protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of cellular target proteins, and perturbations therein may contribute to cardiac dysfunction in heart failure. In the present study a comprehensive analysis was made of mediators of the ?AR pathway, myofilament properties and cardiac structure in patients with idiopathic (IDCM; n = 13) and ischemic (ISHD; n = 10) cardiomyopathy in comparison to non-failing hearts (donor; n = 10) for the following parameters: ?AR density, G-coupled receptor kinases 2 and 5, stimulatory and inhibitory G-proteins, phosphorylation of myofilament targets of PKA, protein phosphatase 1, phospholamban, SERCA2a and single myocyte contractility. All parameters exhibited the expected alterations of heart failure, but for most of them the extent of alteration was greater in IDCM than in ISHD. Histological analysis also revealed higher collagen in IDCM compared to ISHD. Alterations in the ?AR pathway are more pronounced in IDCM than in ISHD and may reflect sequential changes in cellular protein composition and function. Our data indicate that cellular dysfunction is more severe in IDCM than in ISHD.
Previously we showed that left ventricular (LV) responsiveness to exercise-induced increases in noradrenaline was blunted in pigs with a recent myocardial infarction (MI) [van der Velden et al. Circ Res. 2004], consistent with perturbed ?-adrenergic receptor (?-AR) signaling. Here we tested the hypothesis that abnormalities at the myofilament level underlie impaired LV responsiveness to catecholamines in MI. Myofilament function and protein composition were studied in remote LV biopsies taken at baseline and during dobutamine stimulation 3 weeks after MI or sham. Single permeabilized cardiomyocytes demonstrated reduced maximal force (F(max)) and higher Ca(2+)-sensitivity in MI compared to sham. F(max) did not change during dobutamine infusion in sham, but markedly increased in MI. Moreover, the dobutamine-induced decrease in Ca(2+)-sensitivity was significantly larger in MI than sham. Baseline phosphorylation assessed by phosphostaining of ?-AR target proteins myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) and troponin I (cTnI) in MI and sham was the same. However, the dobutamine-induced increase in overall cTnI phosphorylation and cTnI phosphorylation at protein kinase A (PKA)-sites (Ser23/24) was less in MI compared to sham. In contrast, the dobutamine-induced phosphorylation of cMyBP-C at Ser282 was preserved in MI, and coincided with increased autophosphorylation (at Thr282) of the cytosolic Ca(2+)-dependent calmodulin kinase II (CaMKII-?C). In conclusion, in post-infarct remodeled myocardium myofilament responsiveness to dobutamine is significantly enhanced despite the lower increase in PKA-mediated phosphorylation of cTnI. The increased myofilament responsiveness in MI may depend on the preserved cMyBP-C phosphorylation possibly resulting from increased CaMKII-?C activity and may help to maintain proper diastolic performance during exercise.
Volatile anesthetics protect the heart against ischemia-reperfusion injury. As an adjunct to general anesthesia, local and regional application of bupivacaine is often used. However, systemic plasma levels of bupivacaine might be cardiodepressant and interfere with sevoflurane-induced cardioprotection. Effects of bupivacaine on sevoflurane-induced cardioprotection were assessed in isolated Langendorff-perfused rat hearts subjected to 35 min of global ischemia followed by 60 min reperfusion. Hearts (n=40) were randomized to different groups: 1. Control; 2. Bupivacaine: addition of 0.125 or 1.0 ?g/ml bupivacaine to the perfusate for 40 min prior to ischemia-reperfusion; 3. Sevoflurane: preconditioning induced by three times 5-min episodes of sevoflurane (2.5 vol.%) prior to ischemia-reperfusion; 4. Bupivacaine-sevoflurane: combined application of bupivacaine and sevoflurane. After ischemia-reperfusion, cardioprotection was assessed from infarct size and recovery of ventricular function, and phosphorylation levels of glycogen synthase kinase 3? (GSK3?) and 5AMP activated protein kinase (AMPK) were determined. Infarct size was reduced in the sevoflurane and bupivacaine-sevoflurane groups (Sevo: 23±7% and Bupi-Sevo: 23±5% vs. Control: 59±6%, P<0.05). In the bupivacaine group infarct size was reduced as well (34±3%). In the sevoflurane and bupivacaine-sevoflurane groups the recovery of left ventricular function (+dP/dt) was improved (Sevo: 59±2% and Bupi-Sevo: 59±2% vs. Control: 47±3%, P<0.05), but not in the bupivacaine group (48±3%). AMPK and GSK3? phosphorylation were increased by sevoflurane but not by bupivacaine. Sevoflurane-induced cardioprotection was not affected by bupivacaine in the non-cardiotoxic range. Bupivacaine alone also reduced infarct size. Both anesthetics activated different signaling kinases, indicating the existence of different cardioprotective intracellular signaling cascades.
Protein kinase A (PKA)-mediated phosphorylation of Ser23/24 of cardiac troponin I (cTnI) causes a reduction in Ca(2+)-sensitivity of force development. This study aimed to determine whether the PKA-induced modulation of the Ca(2+)-sensitivity is solely due to cTnI phosphorylation or depends on the phosphorylation status of other sarcomeric proteins. Endogenous troponin (cTn) complex in donor cardiomyocytes was partially exchanged (up to 66+/-1%) with recombinant unphosphorylated human cTn and in failing cells similar exchange was achieved using PKA-(bis)phosphorylated cTn complex. Cardiomyocytes immersed in exchange solution without complex added served as controls. Partial exchange of unphosphorylated cTn complex in donor tissue significantly increased Ca(2+)-sensitivity (pCa(50)) to 5.50+/-0.02 relative to the donor control value (pCa(50)=5.43+/-0.04). Exchange in failing tissue with PKA-phosphorylated cTn complex did not change Ca(2+)-sensitivity relative to the failing control (pCa(50)=5.60+/-0.02). Subsequent treatment of the cardiomyocytes with the catalytic subunit of PKA significantly decreased Ca(2+)-sensitivity in donor and failing tissue. Analysis of phosphorylated cTnI species revealed the same distribution of un-, mono- and bis-phosphorylated cTnI in donor control and in failing tissue exchanged with PKA-phosphorylated cTn complex. Phosphorylation of myosin-binding protein-C in failing tissue was significantly lower compared to donor tissue. These differences in Ca(2+)-sensitivity in donor and failing cells, despite similar distribution of cTnI species, could be abolished by subsequent PKA-treatment and indicate that other targets of PKA are involved the reduction of Ca(2+)-sensitivity. Our findings suggest that the sarcomeric phosphorylation background, which is altered in cardiac disease, influences the impact of cTnI Ser23/24 phosphorylation by PKA on Ca(2+)-sensitivity.
Cardiomyocyte contraction is regulated by phosphorylation of sarcomeric proteins. Throughout the heart regional and transmural differences may exist in protein phosphorylation. In addition, phosphorylation of sarcomeric proteins is altered in cardiac disease. Heterogeneity in protein phosphorylation may be larger in hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) as it may be caused by multiple mutations in genes encoding different sarcomeric proteins. Moreover, HCM is characterized by asymmetric remodelling of the heart. In the present study we assessed if local differences in sarcomeric protein phosphorylation are more evident in primary HCM or DCM than in non-failing donors. Thereto, phosphorylation of the two main target proteins of the beta-adrenergic receptor pathway, troponin I (cTnI) and myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) was analysed in different parts in the free left ventricular wall of end-stage failing HCM and DCM patients and donors obtained during transplant surgery. Intra-patient variability in protein phosphorylation within tissue samples of approximately 2 g wet weight was comparable between donor, HCM and DCM samples and could partly be attributed to the precision of the technique. Thus, our data indicate that within the precision of the measurements small, biopsy-sized cardiac tissue samples are representative for the region of the free left ventricular wall from which they were obtained.
Nemaline myopathy (NM), the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy, is clinically characterized by muscle weakness. However, the mechanisms underlying this weakness are poorly understood. Here, we studied the contractile phenotype of skeletal muscle from NM patients with nebulin mutations (NEM2). SDS-PAGE and Western blotting studies revealed markedly reduced nebulin protein levels in muscle from NM patients, whereas levels of other thin filament-based proteins were not significantly altered. Muscle mechanics studies indicated significantly reduced calcium sensitivity of force generation in NM muscle fibers compared to control fibers. In addition, we found slower rate constant of force redevelopment, as well as increased tension cost, in NM compared to control fibers, indicating that in NM muscle the rate of cross-bridge attachment is reduced, whereas the rate of cross-bridge detachment is increased. The resulting reduced fraction of force generating cross-bridges is expected to greatly impair the force generating capacity of muscle from NM patients. Thus, the present study provides important novel insights into the pathogenesis of muscle weakness in nebulin-based NM.
5AMP-activated protein kinase (AMPK), a well-known regulator of cellular energy status, is also implicated in ischemic preconditioning leading to cardioprotection. We hypothesized that AMPK is involved in anesthetic-induced cardioprotection and that this activation is mediated by reactive oxygen species (ROS).
Left ventricular (LV) myocardial structure and function differ in heart failure (HF) with normal (N) and reduced (R) LV ejection fraction (EF). This difference could underlie an unequal outcome of trials with beta-blockers in heart failure with normal LVEF (HFNEF) and heart failure with reduced LVEF (HFREF) with mixed results observed in HFNEF and positive results in HFREF. To investigate whether beta-blockers have distinct myocardial effects in HFNEF and HFREF, myocardial structure, cardiomyocyte function, and myocardial protein composition were compared in HFNEF and HFREF patients without or with beta-blockers.
Previous studies indicated that the increase in protein kinase C (PKC)-mediated myofilament protein phosphorylation observed in failing myocardium might be detrimental for contractile function. This study was designed to reveal and compare the effects of PKCalpha- and PKCepsilon-mediated phosphorylation on myofilament function in human myocardium. Isometric force was measured at different [Ca2+] in single permeabilized cardiomyocytes from failing human left ventricular tissue. Activated PKCalpha and PKCepsilon equally reduced Ca2+ sensitivity in failing cardiomyocytes (DeltapCa50 = 0.08 +/- 0.01). Both PKC isoforms increased phosphorylation of troponin I- (cTnI) and myosin binding protein C (cMyBP-C) in failing cardiomyocytes. Subsequent incubation of failing cardiomyocytes with the catalytic subunit of protein kinase A (PKA) resulted in a further reduction in Ca2+ sensitivity, indicating that the effects of both PKC isoforms were not caused by cross-phosphorylation of PKA sites. Both isozymes showed no effects on maximal force and only PKCalpha resulted in a modest significant reduction in passive force. Effects of PKCalpha were only minor in donor cardiomyocytes, presumably because of already saturated cTnI and cMyBP-C phosphorylation levels. Donor tissue could therefore be used as a tool to reveal the functional effects of troponin T (cTnT) phosphorylation by PKCalpha. Massive dephosphorylation of cTnT with alkaline phosphatase increased Ca2+ sensitivity. Subsequently, PKCalpha treatment of donor cardiomyocytes reduced Ca2+ sensitivity (DeltapCa50 = 0.08 +/- 0.02) and solely increased phosphorylation of cTnT, but did not affect maximal and passive force. PKCalpha- and PKCepsilon-mediated phosphorylation of cMyBP-C and cTnI as well as cTnT decrease myofilament Ca2+ sensitivity and may thereby reduce contractility and enhance relaxation of human myocardium.
Nemaline myopathy (NM) is the most common non-dystrophic congenital myopathy. Clinically the most important feature of NM is muscle weakness; however, the mechanisms underlying this weakness are poorly understood. Here, we studied the muscular phenotype of NM patients with a well-defined nebulin mutation (NM-NEB), using a multidisciplinary approach to study thin filament length regulation and muscle contractile performance. SDS-PAGE and western blotting revealed greatly reduced nebulin levels in skeletal muscle of NM-NEB patients, with the most prominent reduction at nebulins N-terminal end. Muscle mechanical studies indicated approximately 60% reduced force generating capacity of NM-NEB muscle and a leftward-shift of the force-sarcomere length relation in NM-NEB muscle fibers. This indicates that the mechanism for the force reduction is likely to include shorter and non-uniform thin filament lengths in NM-NEB muscle compared with control muscle. Immunofluorescence confocal microscopy and electron microscopy studies indicated that average thin filament length is reduced from approximately 1.3 microm in control muscle to approximately 0.75 microm in NM-NEB muscle. Thus, the present study is the first to show a distinct genotype-functional phenotype correlation in patients with NM due to a nebulin mutation, and provides evidence for the notion that dysregulated thin filament length contributes to muscle weakness in NM patients with nebulin mutations. Furthermore, a striking similarity between the contractile and structural phenotypes of nebulin-deficient mouse muscle and human NM-NEB muscle was observed, indicating that the nebulin knockout model is well suited for elucidating the functional basis of muscle weakness in NM and for the development of treatment strategies.
Myofilament contractility of individual cardiomyocytes is depressed in remote noninfarcted myocardium and contributes to global left ventricular pump dysfunction after myocardial infarction (MI). Here, we investigated whether beta-blocker therapy could restore myofilament contractility.
Mutations in the MYBPC3 gene, encoding cardiac myosin-binding protein C (cMyBP-C), are a frequent cause of familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy. In the present study, we investigated whether protein composition and function of the sarcomere are altered in a homogeneous familial hypertrophic cardiomyopathy patient group with frameshift mutations in MYBPC3 (MYBPC3(mut)).
High diastolic stiffness of failing myocardium results from interstitial fibrosis and elevated resting tension (F(passive)) of cardiomyocytes. A shift in titin isoform expression from N2BA to N2B isoform, lower overall phosphorylation of titin, and a shift in titin phosphorylation from N2B to N2BA isoform can raise F(passive) of cardiomyocytes. In left ventricular biopsies of heart failure (HF) patients, aortic stenosis (AS) patients, and controls (CON), we therefore related F(passive) of isolated cardiomyocytes to expression of titin isoforms and to phosphorylation of titin and titin isoforms. Biopsies were procured by transvascular technique (44 HF, 3 CON), perioperatively (25 AS, 4 CON), or from explanted hearts (4 HF, 8 CON). None had coronary artery disease. Isolated, permeabilized cardiomyocytes were stretched to 2.2-microm sarcomere length to measure F(passive). Expression and phosphorylation of titin isoforms were analyzed using gel electrophoresis with ProQ Diamond and SYPRO Ruby stains and reported as ratio of titin (N2BA/N2B) or of phosphorylated titin (P-N2BA/P-N2B) isoforms. F(passive) was higher in HF (6.1+/-0.4 kN/m(2)) than in CON (2.3+/-0.3 kN/m(2); P<0.01) or in AS (2.2+/-0.2 kN/m(2); P<0.001). Titin isoform expression differed between HF (N2BA/N2B=0.73+/-0.06) and CON (N2BA/N2B=0.39+/-0.05; P<0.001) and was comparable in HF and AS (N2BA/N2B=0.59+/-0.06). Overall titin phosphorylation was also comparable in HF and AS, but relative phosphorylation of the stiff N2B titin isoform was significantly lower in HF (P-N2BA/P-N2B=0.77+/-0.05) than in AS (P-N2BA/P-N2B=0.54+/-0.05; P<0.01). Relative hypophosphorylation of the stiff N2B titin isoform is a novel mechanism responsible for raised F(passive) of human HF cardiomyocytes.
In healthy human myocardium a tight balance exists between receptor-mediated kinases and phosphatases coordinating phosphorylation of regulatory proteins involved in cardiomyocyte contractility. During heart failure, when neurohumoral stimulation increases to compensate for reduced cardiac pump function, this balance is perturbed. The imbalance between kinases and phosphatases upon chronic neurohumoral stimulation is detrimental and initiates cardiac remodelling, and phosphorylation changes of regulatory proteins, which impair cardiomyocyte function. The main signalling pathway involved in enhanced cardiomyocyte contractility during increased cardiac load is the beta-adrenergic signalling route, which becomes desensitized upon chronic stimulation. At the myofilament level, activation of protein kinase A (PKA), the down-stream kinase of the beta-adrenergic receptors (beta-AR), phosphorylates troponin I, myosin binding protein C and titin, which all exert differential effects on myofilament function. As a consequence of beta-AR down-regulation and desensitization, phosphorylation of the PKA-target proteins within the cardiomyocyte may be decreased and alter myofilament function. Here we discuss involvement of altered PKA-mediated myofilament protein phosphorylation in different animal and human studies, and discuss the roles of troponin I, myosin binding protein C and titin in regulating myofilament dysfunction in cardiac disease. Data from the different animal and human studies emphasize the importance of careful biopsy procurement, and the need to investigate localization of kinases and phosphatases within the cardiomyocyte, in particular their co-localization with cardiac myofilaments upon receptor stimulation.
Many changes in morphology, biochemical properties and myocyte function occur during development to heart failure. Most changes may be compensatory, yet unable to prevent cardiac dysfunction in the long run. This illustrates that it is important to carefully dissect the disease causing modifications from cardiac adaptation, in order to obtain a better understanding of the pathophysiological processes leading to heart failure.
PKA-mediated phosphorylation of contractile proteins upon ?-adrenergic stimulation plays an important role in the regulation of cardiac performance. Phosphorylation of the PKA sites (Ser(23)/Ser(24)) of cardiac troponin (cTn)I results in a decrease in myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity and an increase in the rate of relaxation. However, the relation between the level of phosphorylation of the sites and the functional effects in the human myocardium is unknown. Therefore, site-directed mutagenesis was used to study the effects of phosphorylation at Ser(23) and Ser(24) of cTnI on myofilament function in human cardiac tissue. Serines were replaced by aspartic acid (D) or alanine (A) to mimic phosphorylation and dephosphorylation, respectively. cTnI-DD mimics both sites phosphorylated, cTnI-AD mimics Ser(23) unphosphorylated and Ser(24) phosphorylated, cTnI-DA mimics Ser(23) phosphorylated and Ser(24) unphosphorylated, and cTnI-AA mimics both sites unphosphorylated. Force development was measured at various Ca(2+) concentrations in permeabilized cardiomyocytes in which the endogenous troponin complex was exchanged with these recombinant human troponin complexes. In donor cardiomyocytes, myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity (pCa(50)) was significantly lower in cTnI-DD (pCa(50): 5.39 ± 0.01) compared with cTnI-AA (pCa(50): 5.50 ± 0.01), cTnI-AD (pCa(50): 5.48 ± 0.01), and cTnI-DA (pCa(50): 5.51 ± 0.01) at ~70% cTn exchange. No effects were observed on the rate of tension redevelopment. In cardiomyocytes from idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathic tissue, a linear decline in pCa(50) with cTnI-DD content was observed, saturating at ~55% bisphosphorylation. Our data suggest that in the human myocardium, phosphorylation of both PKA sites on cTnI is required to reduce myofilament Ca(2+) sensitivity, which is maximal at ~55% bisphosphorylated cTnI. The implications for in vivo cardiac function in health and disease are detailed in the DISCUSSION in this article.
We previously demonstrated that diaphragm muscle weakness is present in experimental pulmonary arterial hypertension (PH). However, the nature of this diaphragm weakness is still unknown. Therefore, the aim of this study was to investigate whether changes at the sarcomeric level contribute to diaphragm weakness in PH. For this purpose, in control rats and rats with monocrotaline-induced PH, contractile performance and myosin heavy chain content of demembranated single diaphragm fibers were determined. We observed a reduced maximal tension of 20% (P < 0.05), whereas tension cost was preserved in type 2X and 2B diaphragm fibers in PH compared with control. The reduced maximal tension was associated with a reduction of force generated per half-sarcomeric myosin heavy chain content. Additionally, reduced Ca(2+) sensitivity of force generation was found in type 2X fibers compared with control, which could exacerbate diaphragm muscle weakness at submaximal activation. No changes in maximal tension and Ca(2+) sensitivity of force generation were observed in fibers from the nonrespiratory extensor digitorum longus muscle. Together, these findings indicate that diaphragm weakness in PH is at least partly caused by sarcomeric dysfunction, which appears to be specific for the diaphragm.
Prominent features of myocardial remodeling in heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFPEF) are high cardiomyocyte resting tension (F(passive)) and cardiomyocyte hypertrophy. In experimental models, both reacted favorably to raised protein kinase G (PKG) activity. The present study assessed myocardial PKG activity, its downstream effects on cardiomyocyte F(passive) and cardiomyocyte diameter, and its upstream control by cyclic guanosine monophosphate (cGMP), nitrosative/oxidative stress, and brain natriuretic peptide (BNP). To discern altered control of myocardial remodeling by PKG, HFPEF was compared with aortic stenosis and HF with reduced EF (HFREF).
tenascin-X (TNX) is an extracellular matrix glycoprotein whose absence leads to Ehlers-Danlos Syndrome (EDS). TNX-deficient EDS patients present with joint hypermobility and muscle weakness attributable to increased compliance of the extracellular matrix. We hypothesized that in response to the increased compliance of the extracellular matrix in TNX-deficient EDS patients, intracellular adaptations take place in the elastic properties of the giant muscle protein titin.
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