[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Aortic valve endothelial cells function in vastly different levels of shear stress. The biomechanical characteristics of cells on each side of valve have not been investigated. We assessed the morphology and mechanical properties of cultured or native valve endothelial cells on intact porcine aortic valve cusps using a scanning ion conductance microscope. The autocrine influence of several endothelial-derived mediators on cell compliance and the expression of actin were also examined. Cells on the aortic side of the valve are characterised by a more elongated shape and were aligned along a single axis. Measurement of EC membrane compliance using the SICM showed that the cells on the aortic side of intact valves were significantly softer than those on the ventricular side. A similar pattern was seen in cultured cells. Addition of 10(-6)M of the NO donor sodium nitroprusside caused a significant reduction in the compliance of ventricular endothelial cells but had no effect on cells on the aortic side of the valve. Conversely, ET-1 (10-10-10(-8)M) caused an increase in the compliance of aortic cells but had no effect on cells on the ventricular side of the valve. Aortic side endothelial cell compliance was also increased by 10(-4)M of the NO synthase inhibitor L-NAME. Immunofluorescent staining of actin filaments revealed a great density of staining in endothelial cells on the ventricular surface. This study has shown side-specific differences in the biomechanics of aortic valve endothelial cells. These differences can have important implications for valve function.
AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology 05/2014; · 4.01 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The transverse (t)-tubule system plays an essential role in healthy and diseased heart muscle, particularly in Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR), and its structural disruption is an early event in heart failure (HF). Both mechanical overload and unloading alter t-tubule structure, but the mechanisms mediating the normally tight regulation of the t-tubules in response to load variation are poorly understood. Telethonin (Tcap) is a stretch-sensitive z-disk protein which binds to proteins in the t-tubule membrane. To assess its role in regulating t-tubule structure and function, we used Tcap knock-out (KO) mice and investigated cardiomyocyte t-tubule and cell structure and CICR over time and following mechanical overload.In cardiomyocytes from 3month old KO (3mKO), there were isolated t-tubule defects and Ca(2+) transient dysynchrony without whole heart and cellular dysfunction. Ca(2+) spark frequency more than doubled in 3mKO. At 8 months of age (8mKO), cardiomyocytes showed progressive loss of t-tubules and remodeling of the cell surface, with prolonged and dysynchronous Ca(2+) transients. Ca(2+) spark frequency was elevated and the LTCC was depressed at 8 months only.After mechanical overload obtained by aortic banding constriction, the Ca(2+) transient was prolonged in both wild type and KO. Mechanical overload increased the Ca(2+) spark frequency in KO alone, where there was also significantly more t-tubule loss, with a greater deterioration in t-tubule regularity. In conjunction, Tcap KO showed severe loss of cell surface ultrastructure. These data suggest that Tcap is a critical, load-sensitive regulator of t-tubule structure and function.
Human Molecular Genetics 10/2012; · 7.69 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) is critical for contraction in cardiomyocytes. The transverse (t)-tubule system guarantees the proximity of the triggers for Ca(2+) release [L-type Ca(2+) channel, dihydropyridine receptors (DHPRs)] and the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) release channels [ryanodine receptors (RyRs)]. Transverse tubule disruption occurs early in heart failure (HF). Clinical studies of left ventricular assist devices in HF indicate that mechanical unloading induces reverse remodelling. We hypothesize that unloading of failing hearts normalizes t-tubule structure and improves CICR.
Heart failure was induced in Lewis rats by left coronary artery ligation for 12 weeks; sham-operated animals were used as controls. Failing hearts were mechanically unloaded for 4 weeks by heterotopic abdominal heart transplantation (HF-UN). HF reduced the t-tubule density measured by di-8-ANEPPS staining in isolated left ventricular myocytes, and this was reversed by unloading. The deterioration in the regularity of the t-tubule system in HF was also reversed in HF-UN. Scanning ion conductance microscopy showed the reappearance of normal surface striations in HF-UN. Electron microscopy revealed recovery of normal t-tubule microarchitecture in HF-UN. L-type Ca(2+) current density, measured using whole-cell patch clamping, was reduced in HF but unaffected by unloading. The variance of the time-to-peak of the Ca(2+) transient, an index of CICR dyssynchrony, was increased in HF and normalized by unloading. The increased Ca(2+) spark frequency observed in HF was reduced in HF-UN. These results could be explained by the recoupling of orphaned RyRs in HF, as indicated by immunofluorescence.
Our data show that mechanical unloading of the failing heart reverses the pathological remodelling of the t-tubule system and improves CICR.
European Journal of Heart Failure 04/2012; 14(6):571-80. · 5.25 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy may be complicated by fetal arrhythmia, fetal hypoxia, preterm labor, and, in severe cases, intrauterine death. The precise etiology of fetal death is not known. However, taurocholate has been demonstrated to cause arrhythmia and abnormal calcium dynamics in cardiomyocytes. To identify the underlying reason for increased susceptibility of fetal cardiomyocytes to arrhythmia, we studied myofibroblasts (MFBs), which appear during structural remodeling of the adult diseased heart. In vitro, they depolarize rat cardiomyocytes via heterocellular gap junctional coupling. Recently, it has been hypothesized that ventricular MFBs might appear in the developing human heart, triggered by physiological fetal hypoxia. However, their presence in the fetal heart (FH) and their proarrhythmogenic effects have not been systematically characterized. Immunohistochemistry demonstrated that ventricular MFBs transiently appear in the human FH during gestation. We established two in vitro models of the maternal heart (MH) and FH, both exposed to increasing doses of taurocholate. The MH model consisted of confluent strands of rat cardiomyocytes, whereas for the FH model, we added cardiac MFBs on top of cardiomyocytes. Taurocholate in the FH model, but not in the MH model, slowed conduction velocity from 19 to 9 cm/s, induced early after depolarizations, and resulted in sustained re-entrant arrhythmias. These arrhythmic events were prevented by ursodeoxycholic acid, which hyperpolarized MFB membrane potential by modulating potassium conductance. CONCLUSION: These results illustrate that the appearance of MFBs in the FH may contribute to arrhythmias. The above-described mechanism represents a new therapeutic approach for cardiac arrhythmias at the level of MFB.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiovascular diseases are complex pathologies that include alterations of various cell functions at the levels of intact tissue, single cells and subcellular signalling compartments. Conventional techniques to study these processes are extremely divergent and rely on a combination of individual methods, which usually provide spatially and temporally limited information on single parameters of interest. This review describes scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM) as a novel versatile technique capable of simultaneously reporting various structural and functional parameters at nanometre resolution in living cardiovascular cells at the level of the whole tissue, single cells and at the subcellular level, to investigate the mechanisms of cardiovascular disease. SICM is a multimodal imaging technology that allows concurrent and dynamic analysis of membrane morphology and various functional parameters (cell volume, membrane potentials, cellular contraction, single ion-channel currents and some parameters of intracellular signalling) in intact living cardiovascular cells and tissues with nanometre resolution at different levels of organization (tissue, cellular and subcellular levels). Using this technique, we showed that at the tissue level, cell orientation in the inner and outer aortic arch distinguishes atheroprone and atheroprotected regions. At the cellular level, heart failure leads to a pronounced loss of T-tubules in cardiac myocytes accompanied by a reduction in Z-groove ratio. We also demonstrated the capability of SICM to measure the entire cell volume as an index of cellular hypertrophy. This method can be further combined with fluorescence to simultaneously measure cardiomyocyte contraction and intracellular calcium transients or to map subcellular localization of membrane receptors coupled to cyclic adenosine monophosphate production. The SICM pipette can be used for patch-clamp recordings of membrane potential and single channel currents. In conclusion, SICM provides a highly informative multimodal imaging platform for functional analysis of the mechanisms of cardiovascular diseases, which should facilitate identification of novel therapeutic strategies.
Journal of The Royal Society Interface 02/2011; 8(60):913-25. · 4.91 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The goal of this study was to examine the effect of chronic heterogeneous shear stress, applied using an orbital shaker, on endothelial cell morphology and the expression of cyclooxygenases 1 and 2.
Porcine aortic endothelial cells were plated on fibronectin-coated Transwell plates. Cells were cultured for up to 7 days either under static conditions or on an orbital shaker that generated a wave of medium inducing shear stress over the cells. Cells were fixed and stained for the endothelial surface marker CD31 or cyclooxygenases 1 and 2. En face confocal microscopy and scanning ion conductance microscopy were used to show that endothelial cells were randomly oriented at the center of the well, aligned with shear stress nearer the periphery, and expressed cyclooxygenase-1 under all conditions. Lipopolysaccharide induced cyclooxygenase-2 and the production of 6-keto-prostaglandin F(1α) in all cells.
Cyclooxygenase-1 is expressed in endothelial cells cultured under chronic shear stress of high or low directionality.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Prolonged mechanical unloading (UN) of the heart is associated with detrimental changes to the structure and function of cardiomyocytes. The mechanisms underlying these changes are unknown. In this study, we report the influence of UN on excitation-contraction coupling, Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release (CICR) in particular, and transverse (t)-tubule structure. UN was induced in male Lewis rat hearts by heterotopic abdominal heart transplantation. Left ventricular cardiomyocytes were isolated from the transplanted hearts after 4 wk and studied using whole-cell patch clamping, confocal microscopy, and scanning ion conductance microscopy (SICM). Recipient hearts were used as control (C). UN reduced the volume of cardiomyocytes by 56.5% compared with C (UN, n=90; C, n=59; P<0.001). The variance of time-to-peak of the Ca(2+) transients was significantly increased in unloaded cardiomyocytes (UN 227.4+/-24.9 ms(2), n=42 vs. C 157.8+/-18.0 ms(2), n=40; P<0.05). UN did not alter the action potential morphology or whole-cell L-type Ca(2+) current compared with C, but caused a significantly higher Ca(2+) spark frequency (UN 3.718+/-0.85 events/100 mum/s, n=47 vs. C 0.908+/-0.186 events/100 microm/s, n=45; P<0.05). Confocal studies showed irregular distribution of the t tubules (power of the normal t-tubule frequency: UN 8.13+/-1.12x10(5), n=57 vs. C 20.60+/- 3.174x10(5), n=56; P<0.001) and SICM studies revealed a profound disruption to the openings of the t tubules and the cell surface in unloaded cardiomyocytes. We show that UN leads to a functional uncoupling of the CICR process and identify disruption of the t-tubule-sarcoplasmic reticulum interaction as a possible mechanism.
The FASEB Journal 09/2010; 24(9):3321-9. · 5.70 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The beta1- and beta2-adrenergic receptors (betaARs) on the surface of cardiomyocytes mediate distinct effects on cardiac function and the development of heart failure by regulating production of the second messenger cyclic adenosine monophosphate (cAMP). The spatial localization in cardiomyocytes of these betaARs, which are coupled to heterotrimeric guanine nucleotide-binding proteins (G proteins), and the functional implications of their localization have been unclear. We combined nanoscale live-cell scanning ion conductance and fluorescence resonance energy transfer microscopy techniques and found that, in cardiomyocytes from healthy adult rats and mice, spatially confined beta2AR-induced cAMP signals are localized exclusively to the deep transverse tubules, whereas functional beta1ARs are distributed across the entire cell surface. In cardiomyocytes derived from a rat model of chronic heart failure, beta2ARs were redistributed from the transverse tubules to the cell crest, which led to diffuse receptor-mediated cAMP signaling. Thus, the redistribution of beta(2)ARs in heart failure changes compartmentation of cAMP and might contribute to the failing myocardial phenotype.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Intrahepatic cholestasis of pregnancy (ICP) is a common disease affecting up to 5% of pregnancies and which can cause fetal arrhythmia and sudden intrauterine death. We previously demonstrated that bile acid taurocholate (TC), which is raised in the bloodstream of ICP, can acutely alter the rate and rhythm of contraction and induce abnormal calcium destabilization in cultured neonatal rat cardiomyocytes (NRCM). Apart from their hepatic functions bile acids are ubiquitous signalling molecules with diverse systemic effects mediated by either the nuclear receptor FXR or by a recently discovered G-protein coupled receptor TGR5. We aim to investigate the mechanism of bile-acid induced arrhythmogenic effects in an in-vitro model of the fetal heart.
Levels of bile acid transporters and nuclear receptor FXR were studied by quantitative real time PCR, western blot and immunostaining, which showed low levels of expression. We did not observe functional involvement of the canonical receptors FXR and TGR5. Instead, we found that TC binds to the muscarinic M(2) receptor in NRCM and serves as a partial agonist of this receptor in terms of inhibitory effect on intracellular cAMP and negative chronotropic response. Pharmacological inhibition and siRNA-knockdown of the M(2) receptor completely abolished the negative effect of TC on contraction, calcium transient amplitude and synchronisation in NRCM clusters.
We conclude that in NRCM the TC-induced arrhythmia is mediated by the partial agonism at the M(2) receptor. This mechanism might serve as a promising new therapeutic target for fetal arrhythmia.
PLoS ONE 01/2010; 5(3):e9689. · 3.53 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Embryonic stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (ESC-CM) have many of the phenotypic properties of authentic cardiomyocytes, and great interest has been shown in their possibilities for modelling human disease. Obstetric cholestasis affects 1 in 200 pregnant women in the United Kingdom. It is characterized by raised serum bile acids and complicated by premature delivery and unexplained fetal death at late gestation. It has been suggested that the fetal death is caused by the enhanced arrhythmogenic effect of bile acids in the fetal heart, and shown that neonatal susceptibility to bile acid-induced arrhythmia is lost in the adult rat cardiomyocyte. However, the mechanisms of the observed bile acid effects are not fully understood and their in vivo study in human beings is difficult. Here we use ESC-CM from both human and mouse ESCs to test our proposal that immature cardiomyocytes are more susceptible to the effect of raised bile acids than mature ones. We show that early ESC-CM exhibit bile acid-induced disruption of rhythm, depression of contraction and desynchronization of cell coupling. In both species the ESC-CM become resistant to these arrhythmias as the cells mature, and this develops in line with the respective gestational periods of mouse and human. This represents the first demonstration of the use of ESC-CM as a model system for human cardiac pathology, and opens the way for both investigation of mechanisms and a high throughput screen for drug discovery.
Journal of Cellular and Molecular Medicine 04/2009; 13(9B):3730-41. · 4.75 Impact Factor
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Calcium-induced calcium release (CICR) is crucial for contraction in cardiomyocytes. The transverse (t)-tubule system guarantees the proximity of the triggers for calcium release (L-type calcium channel, dihydropyridine receptors) and the sarcoplasmic reticulum calcium-release channels (ryanodine receptors). Transverse tubule disruption occurs early in heart failure. Clinical studies of left ventricular assist devices in heart failure indicate that mechanical unloading induces reverse remodelling. We hypothesise that unloading of failing hearts normalises t-tubule structure and improves CICR.Heart failure was induced in Lewis rats by left coronary artery ligation for 12 weeks; sham-operated animals were used as controls. Failing hearts were mechanically unloaded for 4 weeks by heterotopic abdominal heart transplantation (HF-UN). Heart failure reduced the t-tubule density as measured by di-8-ANEPPS staining in isolated left ventricular myocytes, and this was reversed by unloading. The deterioration in the regularity of the t-tubule system in heart failure was also reversed in HF-UN. Scanning ion conductance microscopy showed the reappearance of normal surface striations in HF-UN. Electron microscopy revealed recovery of normal t-tubule microarchitecture in HF-UN. L-type calcium current density, measured with whole-cell patch clamping, was reduced in heart failure but unaffected by unloading. The variance of the time-to-peak of the calcium transient, an index of CICR dyssynchrony, was increased in heart failure and normalised by unloading. The increased calcium spark frequency observed in heart failure was reduced in HF-UN. These results could be explained by the recoupling of orphaned ryanodine receptors in heart failure, as indicated by immunofluorescence.Our data show that mechanical unloading of the failing heart reverses the pathological remodelling of the t-tubule system and improves CICR.FundingBritish Heart Foundation.