, Volume 54, Issue 8, pp 691-698,
Open Access This content is freely available online to anyone, anywhere at any time.
Date: 24 Jul 2011

Ca2+ signalling in cardiovascular disease: the role of the plasma membrane calcium pumps


The plasma membrane calcium ATPases (PMCA) are a family of genes which extrude Ca2+ from the cell and are involved in the maintenance of intracellular free calcium levels and/or with Ca2+ signalling, depending on the cell type. In the cardiovascular system, Ca2+ is not only essential for contraction and relaxation but also has a vital role as a second messenger in signal transduction pathways. A complex array of mechanisms regulate intracellular free calcium levels in the heart and vasculature and a failure in these systems to maintain normal Ca2+ homeostasis has been linked to both heart failure and hypertension. This article focuses on the functions of PMCA, in particular isoform 4 (PMCA4), in the heart and vasculature and the reported links between PMCAs and contractile function, cardiac hypertrophy, cardiac rhythm and sudden cardiac death, and blood pressure control and hypertension. It is becoming clear that this family of calcium extrusion pumps have essential roles in both cardiovascular health and disease.

This article is published with open access at Springerlink.com