Physiology - Research Publications

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    Cardiac mechanical efficiency is preserved in primary cardiac hypertrophy despite impaired mechanical function
    Han, J-C ; Tran, K ; Crossman, DJ ; Curl, CL ; Koutsifeli, P ; Neale, JPH ; Li, X ; Harrap, SB ; Taberner, AJ ; Delbridge, LMD ; Loiselle, DS ; Mellor, KM (ROCKEFELLER UNIV PRESS, 2021-08-02)
    Increased heart size is a major risk factor for heart failure and premature mortality. Although abnormal heart growth subsequent to hypertension often accompanies disturbances in mechano-energetics and cardiac efficiency, it remains uncertain whether hypertrophy is their primary driver. In this study, we aimed to investigate the direct association between cardiac hypertrophy and cardiac mechano-energetics using isolated left-ventricular trabeculae from a rat model of primary cardiac hypertrophy and its control. We evaluated energy expenditure (heat output) and mechanical performance (force length work production) simultaneously at a range of preloads and afterloads in a microcalorimeter, we determined energy expenditure related to cross-bridge cycling and Ca2+ cycling (activation heat), and we quantified energy efficiency. Rats with cardiac hypertrophy exhibited increased cardiomyocyte length and width. Their trabeculae showed mechanical impairment, evidenced by lower force production, extent and kinetics of shortening, and work output. Lower force was associated with lower energy expenditure related to Ca2+ cycling and to cross-bridge cycling. However, despite these changes, both mechanical and cross-bridge energy efficiency were unchanged. Our results show that cardiac hypertrophy is associated with impaired contractile performance and with preservation of energy efficiency. These findings provide direction for future investigations targeting metabolic and Ca2+ disturbances underlying cardiac mechanical and energetic impairment in primary cardiac hypertrophy.
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    Fructose Modulates Cardiomyocyte Excitation-Contraction Coupling and Ca2+ Handling In Vitro
    Mellor, KM ; Bell, JR ; Wendt, IR ; Davidoff, AJ ; Ritchie, RH ; Delbridge, LMD ; de Windt, LJ (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2011-09-29)
    BACKGROUND: High dietary fructose has structural and metabolic cardiac impact, but the potential for fructose to exert direct myocardial action is uncertain. Cardiomyocyte functional responsiveness to fructose, and capacity to transport fructose has not been previously demonstrated. OBJECTIVE: The aim of the present study was to seek evidence of fructose-induced modulation of cardiomyocyte excitation-contraction coupling in an acute, in vitro setting. METHODS AND RESULTS: The functional effects of fructose on isolated adult rat cardiomyocyte contractility and Ca²⁺ handling were evaluated under physiological conditions (37°C, 2 mM Ca²⁺, HEPES buffer, 4 Hz stimulation) using video edge detection and microfluorimetry (Fura2) methods. Compared with control glucose (11 mM) superfusate, 2-deoxyglucose (2 DG, 11 mM) substitution prolonged both the contraction and relaxation phases of the twitch (by 16 and 36% respectively, p<0.05) and this effect was completely abrogated with fructose supplementation (11 mM). Similarly, fructose prevented the Ca²⁺ transient delay induced by exposure to 2 DG (time to peak Ca²⁺ transient: 2 DG: 29.0±2.1 ms vs. glucose: 23.6±1.1 ms vs. fructose +2 DG: 23.7±1.0 ms; p<0.05). The presence of the fructose transporter, GLUT5 (Slc2a5) was demonstrated in ventricular cardiomyocytes using real time RT-PCR and this was confirmed by conventional RT-PCR. CONCLUSION: This is the first demonstration of an acute influence of fructose on cardiomyocyte excitation-contraction coupling. The findings indicate cardiomyocyte capacity to transport and functionally utilize exogenously supplied fructose. This study provides the impetus for future research directed towards characterizing myocardial fructose metabolism and understanding how long term high fructose intake may contribute to modulating cardiac function.
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    CaMKII-dependent responses to ischemia and reperfusion challenges in the heart
    Bell, JR ; Vila-Petroff, M ; Delbridge, LMD (FRONTIERS MEDIA SA, 2014-05-06)
    Ischemic heart disease is a leading cause of death, and there is considerable imperative to identify effective therapeutic interventions. Cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) overload is a major cause of ischemia and reperfusion injury, initiating a cascade of events culminating in cardiomyocyte death, myocardial dysfunction, and occurrence of lethal arrhythmias. Responsive to fluctuations in intracellular Ca(2+), Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) has emerged as an enticing therapeutic target in the management of ischemic heart injury. CaMKII is activated early in ischemia and to a greater extent in the first few minutes of reperfusion, at a time when reperfusion arrhythmias are particularly prominent. CaMKII phosphorylates and upregulates many of the key proteins involved in intracellular Na(+) and Ca(2+) loading in ischemia and reperfusion. Experimentally, selective inhibition of CaMKII activity reduces cardiomyocyte death and arrhythmic incidence post-ischemia. New evidence is emerging that CaMKII actions in ischemia and reperfusion involve specific splice variant targeted actions, selective and localized post-translational modifications, and organelle-directed substrate interactions. A more complete mechanistic understanding of CaMKII mode of action in ischemia and reperfusion is required to optimize intervention opportunities. This review summarizes the current experimentally derived understanding of CaMKII participation in mediating the pathophysiology of the heart in ischemia and in reperfusion, and highlights priority future research directions.
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    Mitochondrial fission - a drug target for cytoprotection or cytodestruction?
    Rosdah, AA ; Holien, JK ; Delbridge, LMD ; Dusting, GJ ; Lim, SY (JOHN WILEY & SONS LTD, 2016-06-01)
    Mitochondria are morphologically dynamic organelles constantly undergoing processes of fission and fusion that maintain integrity and bioenergetics of the organelle: these processes are vital for cell survival. Disruption in the balance of mitochondrial fusion and fission is thought to play a role in several pathological conditions including ischemic heart disease. Proteins involved in regulating the processes of mitochondrial fusion and fission are therefore potential targets for pharmacological therapies. Mdivi-1 is a small molecule inhibitor of the mitochondrial fission protein Drp1. Inhibiting mitochondrial fission with Mdivi-1 has proven cytoprotective benefits in several cell types involved in a wide array of cardiovascular injury models. On the other hand, Mdivi-1 can also exert antiproliferative and cytotoxic effects, particularly in hyperproliferative cells. In this review, we discuss these divergent effects of Mdivi-1 on cell survival, as well as the potential and limitations of Mdivi-1 as a therapeutic agent.
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    Diastolic dysfunction is more apparent in STZ-induced diabetic female mice, despite less pronounced hyperglycemia
    Chandramouli, C ; Reichelt, ME ; Curl, CL ; Varma, U ; Bienvenu, LA ; Koutsifeli, P ; Raaijmakers, AJA ; De Blasio, MJ ; Qin, CX ; Jenkins, AJ ; Ritchie, RH ; Mellor, KM ; Delbridge, LMD (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-02-05)
    Diabetic cardiomyopathy is a distinct pathology characterized by early emergence of diastolic dysfunction. Increased cardiovascular risk associated with diabetes is more marked for women, but an understanding of the role of diastolic dysfunction in female susceptibility to diabetic cardiomyopathy is lacking. To investigate the sex-specific relationship between systemic diabetic status and in vivo occurrence of diastolic dysfunction, diabetes was induced in male and female mice by streptozotocin (5x daily i.p. 55 mg/kg). Echocardiography was performed at 7 weeks post-diabetes induction, cardiac collagen content assessed by picrosirius red staining, and gene expression measured using qPCR. The extent of diabetes-associated hyperglycemia was more marked in males than females (males: 25.8 ± 1.2 vs 9.1 ± 0.4 mM; females: 13.5 ± 1.5 vs 8.4 ± 0.4 mM, p < 0.05) yet in vivo diastolic dysfunction was evident in female (E/E' 54% increase, p < 0.05) but not male diabetic mice. Cardiac structural abnormalities (left ventricular wall thinning, collagen deposition) were similar in male and female diabetic mice. Female-specific gene expression changes in glucose metabolic and autophagy-related genes were evident. This study demonstrates that STZ-induced diabetic female mice exhibit a heightened susceptibility to diastolic dysfunction, despite exhibiting a lower extent of hyperglycemia than male mice. These findings highlight the importance of early echocardiographic screening of asymptomatic prediabetic at-risk patients.
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    Cardiomyocyte Functional Etiology in Heart Failure With Preserved Ejection Fraction Is Distinctive-A New Preclinical Model
    Curl, CL ; Danes, VR ; Bell, JR ; Raaijmakers, AJA ; Ip, WTK ; Chandramouli, C ; Harding, TW ; Porrello, ER ; Erickson, JR ; Charchar, FJ ; Kompa, AR ; Edgley, AJ ; Crossman, DJ ; Soeller, C ; Mellor, KM ; Kalman, JM ; Harrap, S ; Delbridge, LMD (WILEY, 2018-06-05)
    BACKGROUND: Among the growing numbers of patients with heart failure, up to one half have heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). The lack of effective treatments for HFpEF is a substantial and escalating unmet clinical need-and the lack of HFpEF-specific animal models represents a major preclinical barrier in advancing understanding of HFpEF. As established treatments for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction (HFrEF) have proven ineffective for HFpEF, the contention that the intrinsic cardiomyocyte phenotype is distinct in these 2 conditions requires consideration. Our goal was to validate and characterize a new rodent model of HFpEF, undertaking longitudinal investigations to delineate the associated cardiac and cardiomyocyte pathophysiology. METHODS AND RESULTS: The selectively inbred Hypertrophic Heart Rat (HHR) strain exhibits adult cardiac enlargement (without hypertension) and premature death (40% mortality at 50 weeks) compared to its control strain, the normal heart rat. Hypertrophy was characterized in vivo by maintained systolic parameters (ejection fraction at 85%-90% control) with marked diastolic dysfunction (increased E/E'). Surprisingly, HHR cardiomyocytes were hypercontractile, exhibiting high Ca2+ operational levels and markedly increased L-type Ca2+ channel current. In HHR, prominent regions of reparative fibrosis in the left ventricle free wall adjacent to the interventricular septum were observed. CONCLUSIONS: Thus, the cardiomyocyte remodeling process in the etiology of this HFpEF model contrasts dramatically with the suppressed Ca2+ cycling state that typifies heart failure with reduced ejection fraction. These findings may explain clinical observations, that treatments considered appropriate for heart failure with reduced ejection fraction are of little benefit for HFpEF-and suggest a basis for new therapeutic strategies.
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    NKX2-5 regulates human cardiomyogenesis via a HEY2 dependent transcriptional network
    Anderson, DJ ; Kaplan, DI ; Bell, KM ; Koutsis, K ; Haynes, JM ; Mills, RJ ; Phelan, DG ; Qian, EL ; Leitoguinho, AR ; Arasaratnam, D ; Labonne, T ; Ng, ES ; Davis, RP ; Casini, S ; Passier, R ; Hudson, JE ; Porrello, ER ; Costa, MW ; Rafii, A ; Curl, CL ; Delbridge, LM ; Harvey, RP ; Oshlack, A ; Cheung, MM ; Mummery, CL ; Petrou, S ; Elefanty, AG ; Stanley, EG ; Elliott, DA (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-04-10)
    Congenital heart defects can be caused by mutations in genes that guide cardiac lineage formation. Here, we show deletion of NKX2-5, a critical component of the cardiac gene regulatory network, in human embryonic stem cells (hESCs), results in impaired cardiomyogenesis, failure to activate VCAM1 and to downregulate the progenitor marker PDGFRα. Furthermore, NKX2-5 null cardiomyocytes have abnormal physiology, with asynchronous contractions and altered action potentials. Molecular profiling and genetic rescue experiments demonstrate that the bHLH protein HEY2 is a key mediator of NKX2-5 function during human cardiomyogenesis. These findings identify HEY2 as a novel component of the NKX2-5 cardiac transcriptional network, providing tangible evidence that hESC models can decipher the complex pathways that regulate early stage human heart development. These data provide a human context for the evaluation of pathogenic mutations in congenital heart disease.
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    Cardiac troponins may be irreversibly modified by glycation: novel potential mechanisms of cardiac performance modulation
    Janssens, JV ; Ma, B ; Brimble, MA ; Van Eyk, JE ; Delbridge, LMD ; Mellor, KM (NATURE PUBLISHING GROUP, 2018-10-31)
    Dynamic movements of the cardiac troponin complex are an important component of the cardiac cycle. Whether cardiac troponins are subjected to irreversible advanced glycation end-product (AGE) modification is unknown. This study interrogated human and rat cardiac troponin-C, troponin-I and troponin-T to identify endogenous AGE modifications using mass spectrometry (LC-MS/MS). AGE modifications were detected on two amino acid residues of human troponin-C (Lys6, Lys39), thirteen troponin-I residues (Lys36, Lys50, Lys58, Arg79, Lys117, Lys120, Lys131, Arg148, Arg162, Lys164, Lys183, Lys193, Arg204), and three troponin-T residues (Lys107, Lys125, Lys227). AGE modifications of three corresponding troponin-I residues (Lys58, Lys120, Lys194) and two corresponding troponin-T residues (Lys107, Lys227) were confirmed in cardiac tissue extracts from an experimental rodent diabetic model. Additionally, novel human troponin-I phosphorylation sites were detected (Thr119, Thr123). Accelerated AGE modification of troponin-C was evident in vitro with hexose sugar exposure. This study provides the first demonstration of the occurrence of cardiac troponin complex AGE-modifications. These irreversible AGE modifications are situated in regions of the troponin complex known to be important in myofilament relaxation, and may be of particular pathological importance in the pro-glycation environment of diabetic cardiomyopathy.
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    Ageing-related cardiomyocyte functional decline is sex and angiotensin II dependent
    Mellor, KM ; Curl, CL ; Chandramouli, C ; Pedrazzini, T ; Wendt, IR ; Delbridge, LMD (SPRINGER, 2014-06-01)
    Clinically, heart failure is an age-dependent pathological phenomenon and displays sex-specific characteristics. The renin-angiotensin system mediates cardiac pathology in heart failure. This study investigated the sexually dimorphic functional effects of ageing combined with angiotensin II (AngII) on cardiac muscle cell function, twitch and Ca(2+)-handling characteristics of isolated cardiomyocytes from young (~13 weeks) and aged (~87 weeks) adult wild type (WT) and AngII-transgenic (TG) mice. We hypothesised that AngII-induced contractile impairment would be exacerbated in aged female cardiomyocytes and linked to Ca(2+)-handling disturbances. AngII-induced cardiomyocyte hypertrophy was evident in young adult mice of both sexes and accentuated by age (aged adult ~21-23 % increases in cell length relative to WT). In female AngII-TG mice, ageing was associated with suppressed cardiomyocyte contractility (% shortening, maximum rate of shortening, maximum rate of relaxation). This was associated with delayed cytosolic Ca(2+) removal during twitch relaxation (Tau ~20 % increase relative to young adult female WT), and myofilament responsiveness to Ca(2+) was maintained. In contrast, aged AngII-TG male cardiomyocytes exhibited peak shortening equivalent to young TG; yet, myofilament Ca(2+) responsiveness was profoundly reduced with ageing. Increased pro-arrhythmogenic spontaneous activity was evident with age and cardiac AngII overexpression in male mice (42-55 % of myocytes) but relatively suppressed in female aged transgenic mice. Female myocytes with elevated AngII appear more susceptible to an age-related contractile deficit, whereas male AngII-TG myocytes preserve contractile function with age but exhibit desensitisation of myofilaments to Ca(2+) and a heightened vulnerability to arrhythmic activity. These findings support the contention that sex-specific therapies are required for the treatment of age-progressive heart failure.
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    Insights on the impact of mitochondrial organisation on bioenergetics in high-resolution computational models of cardiac cell architecture
    Ghosh, S ; Tran, K ; Delbridge, LMD ; Hickey, AJR ; Hanssen, E ; Crampin, EJ ; Rajagopal, V ; McCulloch, AD (PUBLIC LIBRARY SCIENCE, 2018-12-01)
    Recent electron microscopy data have revealed that cardiac mitochondria are not arranged in crystalline columns but are organised with several mitochondria aggregated into columns of varying sizes spanning the cell cross-section. This raises the question-how does the mitochondrial arrangement affect the metabolite distributions within cardiomyocytes and what is its impact on force dynamics? Here, we address this question by employing finite element modeling of cardiac bioenergetics on computational meshes derived from electron microscope images. Our results indicate that heterogeneous mitochondrial distributions can lead to significant spatial variation across the cell in concentrations of inorganic phosphate, creatine (Cr) and creatine phosphate (PCr). However, our model predicts that sufficient activity of the creatine kinase (CK) system, coupled with rapid diffusion of Cr and PCr, maintains near uniform ATP and ADP ratios across the cell cross sections. This homogenous distribution of ATP and ADP should also evenly distribute force production and twitch duration with contraction. These results suggest that the PCr shuttle and associated enzymatic reactions act to maintain uniform force dynamics in the cell despite the heterogeneous mitochondrial organization. However, our model also predicts that under hypoxia activity of mitochondrial CK enzymes and diffusion of high-energy phosphate compounds may be insufficient to sustain uniform ATP/ADP distribution and hence force generation.