Pflügers Archiv

, Volume 431, Issue 1, pp 84–90 | Cite as

Extracellular heparin inhibits Ca2+ transients and contraction in mammalian cardiac myocytes

  • Maria C. Garcia
  • Jorge A. Sanchez
  • Virendra K. Sharma
  • Shey -Shing Sheu
Original Article Molecular and Cellular Physiology


The effect of heparin on Ca2+ transients and cell shortening was studied in isolated cardiac myocytes from rat and guinea-pig ventricles. Ca2+ signals were measured with the fluorescent indicator fura-2. Heparin reversibly decreased Ca2+ transients and cell shortening in a dose-dependent manner. Half and complete blockade were obtained with 50 μg/ml and 200 μg/ml heparin, respectively. The dihydropyridine agonist BAY K 8644 (50 nM) antagonized the effects of heparin. However, Ca2+ release elicited by caffeine (10 mM) was not affected by heparin. The actions of heparin were also studied in multicellular preparations. In papillary muscle, heparin (5 mg/ml) reversibly reduced the amplitude of the plateau of the action potential and the associated peak tension. BAY K 8644 (500 nM) also antagonized these effects. It is proposed that heparin interacts with dihydropyridine-sensitive Ca2+ channels to cause a decrease of Ca2+ transients and contractility in heart.

Key words

Cardiac muscle Calcium transients Heparin Calcium channels Extracellular matrix Glycosaminoglycans Dihydropyridines Cardiomyocytes 


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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 1995

Authors and Affiliations

  • Maria C. Garcia
    • 2
  • Jorge A. Sanchez
    • 2
  • Virendra K. Sharma
    • 1
  • Shey -Shing Sheu
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Pharmacology, School of Medicine and DentistryUniversity of RochesterRochesterUSA
  2. 2.Department of PharmacologyCentre de Investigacion y de Estudios Avanzados del I.P.N.Mexico D.F.Mexico

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