Volume 48 (2015) Issue 1 Pages 1-8
The calcium (Ca2+)-paradox injury of the heart, induced by restoration of extracellular Ca2+ after its short-term depletion, is known to provoke cardiomyocyte contracture. However, undetermined is how the Ca2+-paradox provokes such a distinctive presentation of myocytes in the heart. To address this, we imaged sequential intracellular Ca2+ dynamics and concomitant structures of the subepicardial ventricular myocytes in fluo3-loaded, Langendorff-perfused rat hearts produced by the Ca2+ paradox. Under rapid-scanning confocal microscopy, repletion of Ca2+ following its depletion produced high-frequency Ca2+ waves in individual myocytes with asynchronous localized contractions, resulting in contracture within 10 min. Such alterations of myocytes were attenuated by 5-mM NiCl2, but not by verapamil, SEA0400, or combination of ryanodine and thapsigargin, indicating a contribution of non-specific transmembrane Ca2+ influx in the injury. However, saponin-induced membrane permeabilization of Ca2+ showed no apparent contracture despite the emergence of high-frequency Ca2+ waves, indicating an essential role of myocyte-myocyte and myocyte-extracellular matrix (ECM) mechanical connections in the Ca2+ paradox. In immunohistochemistry Ca2+ depletion produced separation of the intercalated disc that expresses cadherin and dissipation of β-dystroglycan located along the sarcolemma. Taken together, along with the trans-sarcolemmal Ca2+ influx, disruption of cell-cell and cell-ECM connections is essential for contracture in the Ca2+-paradox injury.