Abnormalities of cardiomyocyte Ca2+ homeostasis and excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling are early events in the pathogenesis of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) and concomitant determinants of the diastolic dysfunction and arrhythmias typical of the disease. T-tubule remodelling has been reported to occur in HCM but little is known about its role in the E-C coupling alterations of HCM. Here, the role of T-tubule remodelling in the electro-mechanical dysfunction associated to HCM is investigated in the Δ160E cTnT mouse model that expresses a clinically-relevant HCM mutation. Contractile function of intact ventricular trabeculae is assessed in Δ160E mice and wild-type siblings. As compared with wild-type, Δ160E trabeculae show prolonged kinetics of force development and relaxation, blunted force-frequency response with reduced active tension at high stimulation frequency, and increased occurrence of spontaneous contractions. Consistently, prolonged Ca2+ transient in terms of rise and duration are also observed in Δ160E trabeculae and isolated cardiomyocytes. Confocal imaging in cells isolated from Δ160E mice reveals significant, though modest, remodelling of T-tubular architecture. A two-photon random access microscope is employed to dissect the spatio-temporal relationship between T-tubular electrical activity and local Ca2+ release in isolated cardiomyocytes. In Δ160E cardiomyocytes, a significant number of T-tubules (>20%) fails to propagate action potentials, with consequent delay of local Ca2+ release. At variance with wild-type, we also observe significantly increased variability of local Ca2+ transient rise as well as higher Ca2+-spark frequency. Although T-tubule structural remodelling in Δ160E myocytes is modest, T-tubule functional defects determine non-homogeneous Ca2+ release and delayed myofilament activation that significantly contribute to mechanical dysfunction.
- Excitation-contraction coupling
- Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
- Non-linear microscopy
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Molecular Biology
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine