Calcium movements inside the sarcoplasmic reticulum of cardiac myocytes

Donald M Bers, Thomas R. Shannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

46 Scopus citations


Sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca content ([Ca]SRT) is critical to both normal cardiac function and electrophysiology, and changes associated with pathology contribute to systolic and diastolic dysfunction and arrhythmias. The intra-SR free [Ca] ([Ca]SR) dictates the [Ca]SRT, the driving force for Ca release and regulates release channel gating. We discuss measurement of [Ca]SR and [Ca]SRT, how [Ca]SR regulates activation and termination of release, and how Ca diffuses within the SR and influences SR Ca release during excitation-contraction coupling, Ca sparks and Cac waves. The entire SR network is connected and its lumen is also continuous with the nuclear envelope. Rapid Ca diffusion within the SR could stabilize and balance local [Ca]SR within the myocyte, but restrictions to diffusion can create spatial inhomogeneities. Experimental measurements and mathematical models of [Ca]SR to date have greatly enriched our understanding of these [Ca]SR dynamics, but controversies exist and may stimulate new measurements and analysis. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Calcium Signaling in Heart".

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)59-66
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - May 2013


  • Calcium sparks
  • Cardiac myocytes
  • Excitation contraction coupling
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • SR Ca release

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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