[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The complete removal of the cardiac sodium-calcium exchanger (NCX1) is associated with embryonic lethality, whereas its overexpression is linked to heart failure. To determine whether or not a reduced expression of NCX1 is compatible with normal heart structure and function, we studied 2 knockout (KO) mouse models with reduced levels of NCX1: a heterozygous global KO (HG-KO) with a 50% level of NCX1 expression in all myocytes, and a ventricular-specific KO (V-KO) with NCX1 expression in only 10% to 20% of the myocytes.
Both groups of mice were evaluated at baseline, after transaortic constriction (TAC), and after acute or chronic beta-adrenergic stimulation. At baseline, the HG-KO mice had smaller hearts and the V-KO mice had larger hearts than their wild-type (WT) controls (P < .05). The HG-KO and their control WT mice had normal responses to TAC and beta-adrenergic stimulation. However, the V-KO group was intolerant to TAC and had a significantly (P < .05) blunted response to beta-adrenergic stimulation as compared with the HG-KO mice and WT controls. Unlike the HG-KO mice, the V-KO mice did not tolerate chronic isoproterenol infusion. Telemetric analysis of the electrocardiogram, body temperature, and activity revealed a normal diurnal rhythm in all groups of mice, but confirmed shorter QT intervals along with increased arrhythmias and reduced R wave to P wave amplitude ratios in the V-KO mice.
Though NCX1 can be reduced by half in all myocytes without significant functional alterations, it must be expressed in more than 20% of the myocytes to prevent severe remodeling and heart failure in mouse heart.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Vinculin is a ubiquitously expressed multiliganded protein that links the actin cytoskeleton to the cell membrane. In myocytes,
it is localized in protein complexes which anchor the contractile apparatus to the sarcolemma. Its function in the myocardium
remains poorly understood. Therefore, we developed a mouse model with cardiac-myocyte-specific inactivation of the vinculin
(Vcl) gene by using Cre-loxP technology. Sudden death was found in 49% of the knockout (cVclKO) mice younger than 3 months of age despite preservation
of contractile function. Conscious telemetry documented ventricular tachycardia as the cause of sudden death, while defective
myocardial conduction was detected by optical mapping. cVclKO mice that survived through the vulnerable period of sudden death
developed dilated cardiomyopathy and died before 6 months of age. Prior to the onset of cardiac dysfunction, ultrastructural
analysis of cVclKO heart tissue showed abnormal adherens junctions with dissolution of the intercalated disc structure, expression
of the junctional proteins cadherin and β1D integrin were reduced, and the gap junction protein connexin 43 was mislocalized
to the lateral myocyte border. This is the first report of tissue-specific inactivation of the Vcl gene and shows that it
is required for preservation of normal cell-cell and cell-matrix adhesive structures.
Full-text · Article · Dec 2007 · Molecular and Cellular Biology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) is the main Ca2+ extrusion mechanism of the cardiac myocyte. Nevertheless, cardiac-specific NCX knockout (KO) mice are viable to adulthood. We have identified two adaptations of excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) to the absence of NCX in these animals: (a) a reduction of the L-type Ca2+ current (I(Ca)) with an increase in ECC gain and (b) a shortening of the action potential (AP) to further limit Ca2+ influx. Both mechanisms contribute to Ca2+ homeostasis by reducing Ca2+ influx while maintaining contractility. These adaptations may comprise important feedback mechanisms by which cardiomyocytes may be able to limit Ca2+ influx in situations of compromised Ca2+ extrusion capacity.
No preview · Article · Apr 2007 · Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: In cardiac-specific Na(+)-Ca(2+) exchanger (NCX) knockout (KO) mice, the ventricular action potential (AP) is shortened. The shortening of the AP, as well as a decrease of the L-type Ca(2+) current (I(Ca)), provides a critical mechanism for the maintenance of Ca(2+) homeostasis and contractility in the absence of NCX (Pott C, Philipson KD, Goldhaber JI. Excitation-contraction coupling in Na(+)-Ca(2+) exchanger knockout mice: reduced transsarcolemmal Ca(2+) flux. Circ Res 97: 1288-1295, 2005). To investigate the mechanism that underlies the accelerated AP repolarization, we recorded the transient outward current (I(to)) in patch-clamped myocytes isolated from wild-type (WT) and NCX KO mice. Peak I(to) was increased by 78% and decay kinetics were slowed in KO vs. WT. Consistent with increased I(to), ECGs from KO mice exhibited shortened QT intervals. Expression of the I(to)-generating K(+) channel subunit Kv4.2 and the K(+) channel interacting protein was increased in KO. We used a computer model of the murine AP (Bondarenko VE, Szigeti GP, Bett GC, Kim SJ, and Rasmusson RL. Computer model of action potential of mouse ventricular myocytes. Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 287: 1378-1403, 2004) to determine the relative contributions of increased I(to), reduced I(Ca), and reduced NCX current (I(NCX)) on the shape and kinetics of the AP. Reduction of I(Ca) and elimination of I(NCX) had relatively small effects on the duration of the AP in the computer model. In contrast, AP repolarization was substantially accelerated when I(to) was increased in the computer model. Thus, the increase in I(to), and not the reduction of I(Ca) or I(NCX), is likely to be the major mechanism of AP shortening in KO myocytes. The upregulation of I(to) may comprise an important regulatory mechanism to limit Ca(2+) influx via a reduction of AP duration, thus preventing Ca(2+) overload in situations of reduced myocyte Ca(2+) extrusion capacity.
Preview · Article · Mar 2007 · AJP Cell Physiology
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac sarcolemmal Na(+)--Ca(2+) exchange is a central component of Ca2+ signaling essential for Ca2+ extrusion and contributing to a variable degree to the development of the systolic Ca2+ transient. Reports on differential gene expression of Na(+)--Ca2+ exchange in cardiac disease and the regulation of its thermodynamic equilibrium depending on intracellular gradients of ion concentrations between subcellular compartments have recently put a new complexion on Na(+)--Ca2+ exchange and its implications for excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling. Heart failure models and genetic approaches to regulate expression of the Na(+)--Ca2+ exchanger have improved our knowledge of exchanger function. Modest overexpression of the Na(+)--Ca2+ exchanger in heterozygous transgenic mice had minimal effects on E-C coupling and cardiac function. However, higher levels of Na(+)--Ca2+ exchange expression in homozygotes led to pathological hypertrophy and failure with an increased interaction between the L-type Ca2+ current and Na(+)--Ca2+ exchange and reduced E-C coupling gain. These results suggested that the Na(+)--Ca2+ exchanger is capable of modulating sarcoplasmic Ca2+ handling and at high expression levels may interact with the gating kinetics of the L-type Ca2+ current by means of regulating subsarcolemmal Ca2+ levels. Despite being a central component in the regulation of cardiac E-C coupling, a newly generated mouse model with cardiac-specific conditional knock-out of the Na(+)--Ca2+ exchanger is viable with unchanged Ca2+ dynamics in adult ventricular myocytes. Cardiac myocytes adapt well to knock-out of the exchanger, apparently by reducing transsarcolemmal fluxes of Ca2+ and increasing E-C coupling gain possibly mediated by changes in submembrane Ca2+ levels. For E-C coupling in the murine model, which relies primarily on sarcoplasmic Ca2+ regulation, this led to the suggestion that the role of Na(+)--Ca2+ exchange should be thought of as a Ca2+ buffering function and not as a major Ca2+ transporter in competition with the sarcoplasmic reticulum.
No preview · Article · Sep 2005 · Cardiovascular Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We have created genetically altered mice to investigate how expression of the Na(+)-Ca(2+) exchange protein alters excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling. Whereas low levels of exchanger overexpression have minimal effects on E-C coupling properties, high levels of overexpression in homozygous animals results in susceptibility to hypertrophy and heart failure, along with a significant reduction in E-C coupling gain. While global knockout of the exchanger in mice is embryonic-lethal, conditional knockout mice live to adulthood. Cardiac function is surprisingly normal in seven-week-old mice, but E-C coupling gain is apparently increased. Thus, genetic modification of exchanger expression has a major influence on E-C coupling.
No preview · Article · Jul 2005 · Annals of the New York Academy of Sciences
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The excitation-contraction coupling cycle in cardiac muscle is initiated by an influx of Ca2+ through voltage-dependent Ca2+ channels. Ca2+ influx induces a release of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum and myocyte contraction. To maintain Ca2+ homeostasis, Ca2+ entry is balanced by efflux mediated by the sarcolemmal Na+-Ca2+ exchanger. In the absence of Na+-Ca2+ exchange, it would be expected that cardiac myocytes would overload with Ca2+. Using Cre/loxP technology, we generated mice with a cardiac-specific knockout of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger, NCX1. The exchanger is completely ablated in 80% to 90% of the cardiomyocytes as determined by immunoblot, immunofluorescence, and exchange function. Surprisingly, the NCX1 knockout mice live to adulthood with only modestly reduced cardiac function as assessed by echocardiography. At 7.5 weeks of age, measures of contractility are decreased by 20% to 30%. We detect no adaptation of the myocardium to the absence of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger as measured by both immunoblots and microarray analysis. Ca2+ transients of isolated myocytes from knockout mice display normal magnitudes and relaxation kinetics and normal responses to isoproterenol. Under voltage clamp conditions, the current through L-type Ca2+ channels is reduced by 50%, although the number of channels is unchanged. An abbreviated action potential may further reduce Ca2+ influx. Rather than upregulate other Ca2+ efflux mechanisms, the myocardium appears to functionally adapt to the absence of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger by limiting Ca2+ influx. The magnitude of Ca2+ transients appears to be maintained by an increased gain of sarcoplasmic reticular Ca2+ release. The myocardium of the NCX1 knockout mice undergoes a remarkable adaptation to maintain near normal cardiac function.
No preview · Article · Oct 2004 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: We investigate cardiac excitation-contraction coupling in the absence of sarcolemmal Na(+) - Ca(2+) exchange using NCX1 knock out mice. Knock out of NCX1 is embryonic lethal, and we measure Ca(2+) transients and contractions in heart tubes from embryos at day 9.5 post coitum. Immunoblot and electron microscopy both indicate that sarcoplasmic reticular membranes are diminished in the knock out (NCX(-/-)) heart tubes. Both Ni(2+) and nifedipine block excitation-contraction coupling in NCX-containing (NCX+) and NCX(-/-) heart tubes indicating an essential role for the L-type Ca(2+) current. Under basal conditions (1Hz stimulation), the NCX(-/-) heart tubes have normal Ca(2+) transients but are unable to maintain homeostasis when Ca(2+) fluxes are increased by various interventions (increased stimulation frequency, caffeine, isoproterenol). In each case, the NCX(-/-) heart tubes respond to the intervention in a more deleterious manner (increased diastolic Ca(2+), decreased Ca(2+) transient) than the NCX+ heart tubes. Expression of the sarcolemmal Ca(2+) pump was not upregulated. The sarcolemmal Ca(2+) pump, however, was able to compensate surprisingly well for the absence of Na(+) - Ca(2+) exchange under basal conditions.
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The role of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger as a major determinant of cell Ca2+ is well defined in cardiac tissue, and there has been much effort to develop specific inhibitors of the exchanger. We use a novel system to test the specificity of two putative specific inhibitors, KB-R7943 and SEA0400. The drugs are applied to electrically stimulated heart tubes from control mouse embryos or embryos with the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger knocked out. We monitored effects of the drugs on Ca2+ transients. Both drugs depress the Ca2+ transients at low concentrations even in the absence of any Na+-Ca2+ exchanger. KB-R7943 and SEA0400 are not completely specific and should be used with caution as Na+-Ca2+ exchange inhibitors.
No preview · Article · Aug 2002 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The widely accepted model to explain the positive inotropic effect of cardiac glycosides invokes altered Na+-Ca2+ exchange activity secondary to Na+ pump inhibition. However, proof of this model is lacking and alternative mechanisms have been proposed. We directly tested the role of the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger in the action of the glycoside ouabain using Na+-Ca2+ exchanger knockout mice. Ablation of the exchanger is embryonic lethal, but contractility can be studied in embryonic heart tubes at day 9.5 postcoitum. Heart tubes isolated from homozygous Na+-Ca2+ exchanger knockout mice (NCX-/-) display surprisingly normal Ca2+ transients. Removal of extracellular Na+ induces Ca2+ overload in wild-type heart tubes but does not alter the Ca2+ transients of NCX-/- heart tubes. Similarly, ouabain, at levels causing Ca2+ overload in wild-type heart tubes, has no effect on NCX-/- heart tubes. We conclude that in embryonic mouse myocytes the Na+-Ca2+ exchanger is absolutely required for the effect of cardiac glycosides on Ca2+(i).
No preview · Article · Mar 2002 · Circulation Research
[Show abstract][Hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Na(+)-Ca(2+) exchanger (NCX) gene expression is increased in the failing human heart. We investigated the hypothesis that upregulation of NCX can induce depressed contractile performance. Overexpression of NCX was achieved in isolated rabbit ventricular myocytes through adenoviral gene transfer (Ad-NCX). After 48 hours, immunoblots revealed a virus dose-dependent increase in NCX protein. Adenoviral beta-galactosidase transfection served as a control. The fractional shortening (FS) of electrically stimulated myocytes was analyzed. At 60 min(-1), FS was depressed by 15.6% in the Ad-NCX group (n=143) versus the control group (n=163, P:<0.05). Analysis of the shortening-frequency relationship showed a steady increase in FS in the control myocytes (n=26) from 0.027+/-0.002 at 30 min(-1) to 0. 037+/-0.002 at 120 min(-1) (P:<0.05 versus 30 min(-1)) and to 0. 040+/-0.002 at 180 min(-1) (P:<0.05 versus 30 min(-1)). Frequency potentiation of shortening was blunted in NCX-transfected myocytes (n=27). The FS was 0.024+/-0.002 at 30 min(-1), 0.029+/-0.002 at 120 min(-1) (P:<0.05 versus 30 min(-1), P:<0.05 versus control), and 0. 026+/-0.002 at 180 min(-1) (NS versus 30 min(-1), P:<0.05 versus control). Caffeine contractures, which indicate sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca(2+) load, were significantly reduced at 120 min(-1) in NCX-transfected cells. An analysis of postrest behavior showed a decay of FS with longer rest intervals in control cells. Rest decay was significantly higher in the Ad-NCX group; after 120 seconds of rest, FS was 78+/-4% in control and 65+/-3% in the Ad-NCX group (P:<0.05) relative to steady-state FS before rest (100%). In conclusion, the overexpression of NCX in rabbit cardiomyocytes results in the depression of contractile function. This supports the hypothesis that upregulation of NCX can result in systolic myocardial failure.
No preview · Article · Sep 2000 · Circulation Research