Energetics of calcium cycling in nonfailing and failing human myocardium

  • G. Hasenfuss
  • L. A. Mulieri
  • C. Holubarsch
  • B. Pieske
  • H. Just
  • N. R. Alpert
Conference paper


Using sensitive antimony-bismuth thermopiles, isometric force and heat output were measured in muscle strips from nonfailing human hearts and from failing dilated cardio-myopathic hearts at a stimulation rate of 60 beats per minute (37°C). This frequency was chosen because analysis of the force-frequency relation showed significant differences in isometric force between failing and nonfailing human myocardium at 60 beats per minute and at higher frequencies, whereas at lower rates of stimulation (30 beats per minute) force of contraction was similar in failing and nonfailing myocardium. The liberated initial heat was partitioned into its two components, tension-dependent heat and tension-independent heat from high-energy phosphate hydrolysis by contractile proteins and excitation-contraction coupling processes, respectively. Tension-dependent heat reflects the total number of cross-bridge interactions, and tension-independent heat is an index of the amount of calcium cycling during the contraction-relaxation cycle. In failing compared to nonfailing human myocardium, peak twitch tension, maximum rate of tension rise and maximum rate of tension fall were reduced significantly. Reduced mechanical performance was associated with reduced liberation of both tension-dependent and tension-independent heat in the failing heart. The reduction of tension-dependent heat by 61% and of tension-independent heat by 69% indicate considerable decreases in the number of crossbridge interactions activated and calcium ions cycled during the isometric twitch. In addition, the rate of calcium removal was reduced in the failing human heart as is indicated by a 71% reduction in tension-independent heat rate. The efficiency of excitation-contraction coupling with respect to crossbridge activation was similar in failing and nonfailing myocardium.

These data indicate that impaired myocardial performance in dilated cardiomyopathy may result from disturbed excitation-contraction coupling with reduced amount of calcium cycling and reduced rate of calcium removal.

Key words

Excitation-contraction coupling myothermal measurements calcium cycling contractile proteins dilated cardiomyopathy 


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Copyright information

© Dr. Dietrich Steinkopff Verlag GmbH & Co. KG, Darmstadt 1992

Authors and Affiliations

  • G. Hasenfuss
    • 1
    • 3
  • L. A. Mulieri
    • 2
  • C. Holubarsch
    • 1
  • B. Pieske
    • 1
  • H. Just
    • 1
  • N. R. Alpert
    • 2
  1. 1.Medizinische Klinik IIIUniversität FreiburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of Physiology & BiophysicsUniversity of VermontBurlingtonUSA
  3. 3.Abteilung IIIMed. Univ.-KlinikFreiburgGermany

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