How do heart cells sense they are stretched?
Heart cells sense that they are stretched when the heart is subjected to high blood pressure. But how? It is known that concentration of calcium ion in cardiomyocytes increases when they are stretched. Takahashi and co-workers found that a specific protein, L-type calcium channel, is the key to this calcium increase event using rat cardiomyocytes. The article “L-type calcium channel modulates mechanosensitivity of the cardiomyocyte cell line H9c2” was published in Cell Calcium journal. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ceca.2019.02.008
As the L-type calcium channels are one of the fundamental components of cardiomyocytes involved in beating of the heart, every medical student learns about them. If you have high blood pressure, you might be taking nifedipine, a blocker of the L-type calcium channels. Takahashi and co-workers revealed that the L-type calcium channel is an essential component for mechanosensitivity of the heart. This finding may lead to new insights for elucidating response of the heart to high blood pressure.
This study was supported by a Grant-in-Aid for Scientific Research on Innovative Areas [No. 15H05936].
Related: Video released: model for ischemic heart disease with human iPS cardiomyocytes
Takahashi Lab at Okayama University uses principles of physiology, cellular and molecular biology, and biophysics. The purpose of the lab is to unveil the mechanisms of diseases through collaborations with scientists, epidemiologists, and corporate alliances. The alliance includes Harvard University, Boston University, Tokyo University of Science, and PD Aerospace, Ltd.