[Show abstract]ABSTRACT: Timothy syndrome (TS) is a disease of excessive cellular Ca(2+) entry and life-threatening arrhythmias caused by a mutation in the primary cardiac L-type Ca(2+) channel (Ca(V)1.2). The TS mutation causes loss of normal voltage-dependent inactivation of Ca(V)1.2 current (I(Ca)). During cellular Ca(2+) overload, the calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) causes arrhythmias. We hypothesized that CaMKII is a part of the proarrhythmic mechanism in TS.
We developed an adult rat ventricular myocyte model of TS (G406R) by lentivirus-mediated transfer of wild-type and TS Ca(V)1.2. The exogenous Ca(V)1.2 contained a mutation (T1066Y) conferring dihydropyridine resistance, so we could silence endogenous Ca(V)1.2 with nifedipine and maintain peak I(Ca) at control levels in infected cells. TS Ca(V)1.2-infected ventricular myocytes exhibited the signature voltage-dependent inactivation loss under Ca(2+) buffering conditions, not permissive for CaMKII activation. In physiological Ca(2+) solutions, TS Ca(V)1.2-expressing ventricular myocytes exhibited increased CaMKII activity and a proarrhythmic phenotype that included action potential prolongation, increased I(Ca) facilitation, and afterdepolarizations. Intracellular dialysis of a CaMKII inhibitory peptide, but not a control peptide, reversed increases in I(Ca) facilitation, normalized the action potential, and prevented afterdepolarizations. We developed a revised mathematical model that accounts for CaMKII-dependent and CaMKII-independent effects of the TS mutation.
In TS, the loss of voltage-dependent inactivation is an upstream initiating event for arrhythmia phenotypes that are ultimately dependent on CaMKII activation.
Full-text available · Article · Dec 2008 · Circulation
[Show abstract]ABSTRACT: Sinus node dysfunction (SND) is a major public health problem that is associated with sudden cardiac death and requires surgical implantation of artificial pacemakers. However, little is known about the molecular and cellular mechanisms that cause SND. Most SND occurs in the setting of heart failure and hypertension, conditions that are marked by elevated circulating angiotensin II (Ang II) and increased oxidant stress. Here, we show that oxidized calmodulin kinase II (ox-CaMKII) is a biomarker for SND in patients and dogs and a disease determinant in mice. In wild-type mice, Ang II infusion caused sinoatrial nodal (SAN) cell oxidation by activating NADPH oxidase, leading to increased ox-CaMKII, SAN cell apoptosis, and SND. p47-/- mice lacking functional NADPH oxidase and mice with myocardial or SAN-targeted CaMKII inhibition were highly resistant to SAN apoptosis and SND, suggesting that ox-CaMKII-triggered SAN cell death contributed to SND. We developed a computational model of the sinoatrial node that showed that a loss of SAN cells below a critical threshold caused SND by preventing normal impulse formation and propagation. These data provide novel molecular and mechanistic information to understand SND and suggest that targeted CaMKII inhibition may be useful for preventing SND in high-risk patients.
Full-text available · Article · Aug 2011 · The Journal of clinical investigation
[Show abstract]ABSTRACT: Understanding relationships between heart failure and arrhythmias, important causes of suffering and sudden death, remains an unmet goal for biomedical researchers and physicians. Evidence assembled over the past decade supports a view that activation of the multifunctional Ca(2+) and calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) favors myocardial dysfunction and cell membrane electrical instability. CaMKII activation follows increases in intracellular Ca(2+) or oxidation, upstream signals with the capacity to transition CaMKII into a Ca(2+) and calmodulin-independent constitutively active enzyme. Constitutively active CaMKII appears poised to participate in disease pathways by catalyzing the phosphorylation of classes of protein targets important for excitation-contraction coupling and cell survival, including ion channels and Ca(2+) homeostatic proteins, and transcription factors that drive hypertrophic and inflammatory gene expression. This rich diversity of downstream targets helps to explain the potential for CaMKII to simultaneously affect mechanical and electrical properties of heart muscle cells. Proof-of-concept studies from a growing number of investigators show that CaMKII inhibition is beneficial for improving myocardial performance and for reducing arrhythmias. We review the molecular physiology of CaMKII and discuss CaMKII actions at key cellular targets and results of animal models of myocardial hypertrophy, dysfunction, and arrhythmias that suggest CaMKII inhibition may benefit myocardial function while reducing arrhythmias.
Full-text available · Article · Jun 2012 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract]ABSTRACT: Rationale:
The sodium-calcium exchanger 1 (NCX1) is predominantly expressed in the heart and is implicated in controlling automaticity in isolated sinoatrial node (SAN) pacemaker cells, but the potential role of NCX1 in determining heart rate in vivo is unknown.
To determine the role of Ncx1 in heart rate.
Methods and results:
We used global myocardial and SAN-targeted conditional Ncx1 knockout (Ncx1(-/-)) mice to measure the effect of the NCX current on pacemaking activity in vivo, ex vivo, and in isolated SAN cells. We induced conditional Ncx1(-/-) using a Cre/loxP system. Unexpectedly, in vivo and ex vivo hearts and isolated SAN cells showed that basal rates in Ncx1(-/-) (retaining ≈20% of control level NCX current) and control mice were similar, suggesting that physiological NCX1 expression is not required for determining resting heart rate. However, increases in heart rate and SAN cell automaticity in response to isoproterenol or the dihydropyridine Ca(2+) channel agonist BayK8644 were significantly blunted or eliminated in Ncx1(-/-) mice, indicating that NCX1 is important for fight or flight heart rate responses. In contrast, the pacemaker current and L-type Ca(2+) currents were equivalent in control and Ncx1(-/-) SAN cells under resting and isoproterenol-stimulated conditions. Ivabradine, a pacemaker current antagonist with clinical efficacy, reduced basal SAN cell automaticity similarly in control and Ncx1(-/-) mice. However, ivabradine decreased automaticity in SAN cells isolated from Ncx1(-/-) mice more effectively than in control SAN cells after isoproterenol, suggesting that the importance of NCX current in fight or flight rate increases is enhanced after pacemaker current inhibition.
Physiological Ncx1 expression is required for increasing sinus rates in vivo, ex vivo, and in isolated SAN cells, but not for maintaining resting heart rate.
Full-text available · Article · Nov 2012 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract]ABSTRACT: Atrial fibrillation is a growing public health problem without adequate therapies. Angiotensin II (Ang II) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) are validated risk factors for atrial fibrillation (AF) in patients, but the molecular pathway(s) connecting ROS and AF is unknown. The Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) has recently emerged as a ROS activated proarrhythmic signal, so we hypothesized that oxidized CaMKIIδ(ox-CaMKII) could contribute to AF.
We found ox-CaMKII was increased in atria from AF patients compared to patients in sinus rhythm and from mice infused with Ang II compared with saline. Ang II treated mice had increased susceptibility to AF compared to saline treated WT mice, establishing Ang II as a risk factor for AF in mice. Knock in mice lacking critical oxidation sites in CaMKIIδ (MM-VV) and mice with myocardial-restricted transgenic over-expression of methionine sulfoxide reductase A (MsrA TG), an enzyme that reduces ox-CaMKII, were resistant to AF induction after Ang II infusion.
Our studies suggest that CaMKII is a molecular signal that couples increased ROS with AF and that therapeutic strategies to decrease ox-CaMKII may prevent or reduce AF.