Na-Ca exchange and Ca fluxes during contraction and relaxation in mammalian ventricular muscle

Donald M Bers, José W M Bassani, Rosana A. Bassani

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

102 Scopus citations


There are four cellular Ca transport systems which compete to remove Ca from the myoplasm in mammalian ventricular myocytes. These are 1) the SR Ca-ATPase, 2) the sarcolemmal Na-Ca exchange, 3) the sarcolemmal Ca-ATPase and 4) the mitochondrial Ca uniporter. Using multiple experimental approaches we have evaluated the dynamic interaction of these systems during the normal cardiac contraction-relaxation cycle. The SR Ca-ATPase and Na-Ca exchange are clearly the most important, quantitatively; however, the relative roles vary in a species-dependent manner. In particular, the SR is much more strongly dominant in rat ventricular myocytes, where ~ 92% of Ca removal is via SR Ca-ATPase and only 7% via Na-Ca exchange during a twitch. In other species (rabbit, ferret, cat, and guinea pig) the balance is more in the range of 70% SR Ca-ATPase and 25-30% Na-Ca exchange. Ferret ventricular myocytes also exhibit an unusually strong sarcolemmal Ca-ATPase. During the steady state the same amount of Ca must leave the cell as enters over a cardiac cycle. This implies that 25-30% of the Ca required to activate contraction must enter the cell, and experiments demonstrate that this amount of Ca may be supplied by the L-type Ca current.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)430-442
Number of pages13
JournalAnnals of the New York Academy of Sciences
StatePublished - 1996
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)


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