Cyclic stretch down-regulates calcium transporter gene expression in neonatal rat ventricular myocytes

Brian M. Cadre, Ming Qi, Diane M. Eble, Thomas R. Shannon, Donald M Bers, Allen M. Samarel

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Abnormal intracellular Ca2+ handling in hypertrophied and failing hearts is partly due to changes in Ca2+ transporter gene expression, but the mechanisms responsible for these alterations remain largely unknown. We previously showed that intrinsic mechanical load (i.e. spontaneous contractile activity) induced myocyte hypertrophy, and down-regulated SR Ca2+ ATPase (SERCA2) gene expression in cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes (NRVM). In the present study, we examined whether extrinsic mechanical load (i.e. cyclic stretch) also induced NRVM hypertrophy, and led to down-regulation of SERCA2 and other Ca2+ transporter genes which have been associated with cardiac hypertrophy and failure in vivo. NRVM were maintained in serum-free culture medium under control conditions, or subjected to cyclic mechanical deformation (1.0 Hz, 20% maximal strain, 48 h). Under these conditions, cyclic stretch induced NRVM hypertrophy, as evidenced by significant increases in total protein/DNA ratio, myosin heavy chain (MHC) content, and atrial natriuretic factor (ANF) secretion. Cyclic stretch also induced the MHC isoenzyme 'switch' which is characteristic of hemodynamic overload of the rat heart in vivo. Cyclic stretch significantly down-regulated SERCA2 and ryanodine receptor (RyR) mRNA and protein levels, while simultaneously increasing ANF mRNA. In contrast, Na+-Ca2+ exchanger and phospholamban mRNA levels were unaffected. Load-dependent SERCA2 and RyR down-regulation was independent of Ca2+ influx via voltage-gated, L-type Ca2+ channels, as cyclic stretch down-regulated SERCA2 and RyR mRNA levels in both control and verapamil-treated NRVM. These results indicate that extrinsic mechanical load (in the absence of other exogenous stimuli) induces NRVM hypertrophy and causes down-regulation of Ca2+ transporter gene expression. This in vitro model system should prove useful to dissect the intracellular signaling pathways responsible for transducing this phenotype during cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure in vivo.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2247-2259
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number11
StatePublished - Nov 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Atrial natriuretic factor
  • Hypertrophy
  • Myosin
  • Na/Ca exchanger
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • SR Ca ATPase

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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