The Cardiac Sodium—Calcium Exchange System

  • John P. Reeves
  • Joo Cheon
Part of the GWUMC Department of Biochemistry Annual Spring Symposia book series (GWUN)


The strength of contraction of cardiac muscle is controlled in part by regulating the amount of Ca2+ that enters and leaves the myocardial cells with each beat. This involves a very complex interplay between Ca2+ channels and pumps located in both the plasma membrane of the heart cell (sarcolemma) and intracellular organelles, particularly the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). There are two principal sources for the Ca2+ that activates contraction: the extracellular medium and Ca2+ stored within the SR. The rate of delivery of Ca2+ to the myofilaments from each source is determined by the activity of various Ca2+ channels located within the SR membrane and the sarcolemma. The distribution of Ca2+ between the two compartments is determined primarily by the relative activities of Ca2+ pumps located within the same membrane systems. One such pump is the Ca-ATPase of the SR membrane, an enzyme that couples the hydrolysis of ATP to the accumulation of Ca2+ within the lumen of the SR. In effect, the SR Ca-ATPase “competes” for Ca2+ with two different types of Ca2+ pumps in the sarcolemma: a Ca-ATPase (which is a different molecular entity than the SR Ca-ATPase) and the Na—Ca exchange system.


Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Membrane Exchange Carrier Sarcolemmal Vesicle Initial Rate Measurement 
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Copyright information

© Plenum Press, New York 1989

Authors and Affiliations

  • John P. Reeves
    • 1
  • Joo Cheon
    • 1
  1. 1.Roche Research CenterRoche Institute of Molecular BiologyNutleyUSA

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