Alterations in dihydropyridine receptors in dystrophin-deficient cardiac muscle

Peter J Woolf, Sai Lu, Renee Cornford-Nairn, Michael Watson, Xiao-Hui Xiao, Sean M Holroyd, Lindsay Brown, Andrew J Hoey
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2006, 290 (6): H2439-45
The deficiency of dystrophin, a critical membrane stabilizing protein, in the mdx mouse causes an elevation in intracellular calcium in myocytes. One mechanism that could elicit increases in intracellular calcium is enhanced influx via the L-type calcium channels. This study investigated the effects of the dihydropyridines BAY K 8644 and nifedipine and alterations in dihydropyridine receptors in dystrophin-deficient mdx hearts. A lower force of contraction and a reduced potency of extracellular calcium (P < 0.05) were evident in mdx left atria. The dihydropyridine agonist BAY K 8644 and antagonist nifedipine had 2.7- and 1.9-fold lower potencies in contracting left atria (P < 0.05). This corresponded with a 2.0-fold reduction in dihydropyridine receptor affinity evident from radioligand binding studies of mdx ventricular homogenates (P < 0.05). Increased ventricular dihydropyridine receptor protein was evident from both radioligand binding studies and Western blot analysis and was accompanied by increased mRNA levels (P < 0.05). Patch-clamp studies in isolated ventricular myocytes showed no change in L-type calcium current density but revealed delayed channel inactivation (P < 0.05). This study indicates that a deficiency of dystrophin leads to changes in dihydropyridine receptors and L-type calcium channel properties that may contribute to enhanced calcium influx. Increased influx is a potential mechanism for the calcium overload observed in dystrophin-deficient cardiac muscle.

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