Cytosolic calcium transients from the beating mammalian heart

H. C. Lee, N. Smith, R. Mohabir, W. T. Clusin

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To elucidate the role of cytosolic calcium, [Ca2+](i), in the physiology of the normal and ischemic heart, we have developed a method for recording [Ca2+](i) transients from the epicardial surface of the rabbit ventricle after arterial perfusion with the cell-permeant cytosolic calcium indicator indo-1 AM. Hearts were illuminated at 360 nm, and fluorescence was recorded simultaneously at 400 and 550 nm. The F400/F550 fluorescence ratio was calculated by an analog circuit that allowed cancelation of small movement artifacts that were present at single wavelengths. Clear [Ca2+](i) transients were present in the F400/F550 signal and were remarkable for their slow decay. Slow decay of the transients was not due to buffering of [Ca2+](i) by indo-1, since there was no associated impairment of contraction or relaxation. The peak amplitude of the [Ca2+](i) transients was increased by ouabain, adrenaline, postextrasystolic potentiation, and acetylcholine. The extent to which the transients decayed diminished with shortening of the interbeat interval, but decay of the transients could be further diminished by acetylcholine or caffeine. A major advantage of the intact heart over isolated myocytes is the ability to measure changes in [Ca2+](i) during ischemia. Ischemia produced a marked increase in both peak systolic and end-diastolic [Ca2+](i), which was most rapid during the first 30 sec, and approached a plateau value after 90 sec. This increase in [Ca2+](i) was associated with a characteristic broadening of the peak of the transient. The increase in [Ca2+](i) during ischemia is consistent with a proposed causative role of [Ca2+](i) in mediating early electrophysiological abnormalities.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)7793-7797
Number of pages5
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number21
StatePublished - 1987

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