Spontaneous Ca waves in ventricular myocytes from failing hearts depend on Ca2+-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II

Jerry Curran, Kathy Hayes Brown, Demetrio J. Santiago, Steve Pogwizd, Donald M Bers, Thomas R. Shannon

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

93 Scopus citations


Increased cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR)-dependent diastolic SR Ca leak is present in heart failure and in conditions when adrenergic tone is high. Increasing Ca leak from the SR could result in spontaneous Ca wave (SCaW) formation. SCaWs activate the inward Na/Ca exchanger (NCX) current causing a delayed afterdepolarization (DAD), potentially leading to arrhythmia. Here we examine SCaWs in ventricular myocytes isolated from failing and healthy rabbit hearts. Myocytes from healthy hearts did not exhibit SCaWs under baseline conditions versus 43% of those exposed to isoproterenol (ISO). This ISO-induced increase in activity was reversed by inhibition of Ca-calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) by KN93. Inhibition of cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) by H89 had no observed effect. Of myocytes treated with forskolin 50% showed SCaW activity, attributable to a large increase in SR Ca load ([Ca]SRT) versus control. At similar [Ca]SRT (121μM) myocytes treated with ISO plus KN93 had significantly fewer SCaWs versus those treated with ISO or ISO plus H89 (0.2±0.28 vs. 1.1±0.28 and 1.29±0.39 SCaWs cell-1, respectively). In myocytes isolated from failing hearts ISO induced an increase in the percentage of cells generating SCaWs vs. baseline (74% vs. 11%) with no increase in [Ca]SRT. Inhibiting CaMKII reversed this effect (14%). At similar [Ca]SRT (71μM) myocytes treated with ISO or ISO plus H89 had significantly more SCaWs per cell vs. untreated (2.5±0.5; 1.6±0.7 vs. 0.36±0.3, respectively). Treatment with ISO plus KN93 completely abolished this effect. The evidence suggests the ISO-dependent increase in SCaW activity in both healthy and failing myocytes is CaMKII-dependent, implicating CaMKII in arrhythmogenesis.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)25-32
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jul 2010


  • Arrhythmia
  • CaMKII
  • Heart failure
  • Ryanodine receptor
  • SR Ca leak

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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