Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is often associated with sarcomere protein mutations that confer reduced myofilament tension–generating capacity. We demonstrated that cardiac twitch tension-time integrals can be targeted and tuned to prevent DCM remodeling in hearts with contractile dysfunction. We employed a transgenic murine model of DCM caused by the D230N-tropomyosin (Tm) mutation and designed a sarcomere-based intervention specifically targeting the twitch tension-time integral of D230N-Tm hearts using multiscale computational models of intramolecular and intermolecular interactions in the thin filament and cell-level contractile simulations. Our models predicted that increasing the calcium sensitivity of thin filament activation using the cardiac troponin C (cTnC) variant L48Q can sufficiently augment twitch tension-time integrals of D230N-Tm hearts. Indeed, cardiac muscle isolated from double-transgenic hearts expressing D230N-Tm and L48Q cTnC had increased calcium sensitivity of tension development and increased twitch tension-time integrals compared with preparations from hearts with D230N-Tm alone. Longitudinal echocardiographic measurements revealed that DTG hearts retained normal cardiac morphology and function, whereas D230N-Tm hearts developed progressive DCM. We present a computational and experimental framework for targeting molecular mechanisms governing the twitch tension of cardiomyopathic hearts to counteract putative mechanical drivers of adverse remodeling and open possibilities for tension-based treatments of genetic cardiomyopathies.
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