Biophysical Reviews

, Volume 10, Issue 4, pp 961–971 | Cite as

At the heart of inter- and intracellular signaling: the intercalated disc

  • Heather R. Manring
  • Lisa E. Dorn
  • Aidan Ex-Willey
  • Federica Accornero
  • Maegen A. Ackermann


Proper cardiac function requires the synchronous mechanical and electrical coupling of individual cardiomyocytes. The intercalated disc (ID) mediates coupling of neighboring myocytes through intercellular signaling. Intercellular communication is highly regulated via intracellular signaling, and signaling pathways originating from the ID control cardiomyocyte remodeling and function. Herein, we present an overview of the inter- and intracellular signaling that occurs at and originates from the intercalated disc in normal physiology and pathophysiology. This review highlights the importance of the intercalated disc as an integrator of signaling events regulating homeostasis and stress responses in the heart and the center of several pathophysiological processes mediating the development of cardiomyopathies.


Intercalated disc Intercalated disc Heart Cardiomyocyte Cardiomyopathy 


Funding information

The authors acknowledge funding from the National Institutes of Health (HL121284 and HL136951 to F.A. and HL116778 to M.A.A.) and a grant from the Saving tiny Hearts Society (M.A.A).

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

Heather R. Manring declares that she has no conflicts of interest. Lisa E. Dorn declares that she has no conflicts of interest. Aidan Ex-Willey declares that he has no conflicts of interest. Federica Accornero declares that she has no conflicts of interest. Maegen A. Ackermann declares that she has no conflicts of interest.

Ethical approval

This article does not contain any studies with human participants or animals performed by any of the authors.


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© International Union for Pure and Applied Biophysics (IUPAB) and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of Physiology and Cell Biology, Dorothy M. Davis Heart and Lung Research InstituteThe Ohio State University Wexner Medical CenterColumbusUSA

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