Hearts from mice lacking desmin have a myopathy with impaired active force generation and unaltered wall compliance.
Research output: Contribution to journal › Article
OBJECTIVE: Desmin intermediate filaments are key structures in the cytoskeleton of cardiac muscle. Since they are associated with Z-discs and intercalated discs, they may have a role in sarcomere alignment or force transmission. We have explored the mechanical function of the desmin filaments in the cardiac wall by comparing desmin-deficient (Des-/-) and wild-type (Des+/+) mice. METHODS: The Langendorff technique was used to examine the contractility of the whole heart. Rate of force generation, Ca(2+)-sensitivity and force per cross-sectional area were measured in skinned ventricle muscle preparations. RESULTS: Des-/- mice have a cardiomyopathy with increased heart weight. Diastolic pressure was increased at all filling volumes in the Des-/- group. Since passive wall stress (i.e. force per area) was unchanged, the alteration in diastolic pressure is a consequence of the thicker ventricle wall. Developed pressure, rate of pressure increase and developed wall stress were significantly reduced, suggesting that active force generation of the contractile apparatus is reduced in Des-/-. Concentrations of actin and myosin in the ventricle were unaltered. Measurements in skinned muscle preparations showed a lower active force development with unaltered Ca(2+)-sensitivity and rate of tension development. CONCLUSION: It is suggested that the intermediate filaments have a role in active force generation of cardiac muscle, possibly by supporting sarcomere alignment or force transmission. The desmin filaments do not contribute the passive elasticity of the ventricle wall. Des-/- mice provide a model for genetic cardiomyopathy where the main factor contributing to altered cardiac performance is a decrease in active force generation, possibly in combination with a loss of functional contractile units.
|Research areas and keywords||
Subject classification (UKÄ) – MANDATORY
|Publication status||Published - 2002|