Ca2+-clock-dependent pacemaking in the sinus node is impaired in mice with a cardiac specific reduction in SERCA2 abundance

S.J.R.J. Logantha, M.K. Stokke, A.J. Atkinson, S.R. Kharche, S. Parveen, Y. Saeed, I. Sjaastad, O.M. Sejersted, H. Dobrzynski

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Background: The sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA2) pump is an important component of the Ca2+-clock pacemaker mechanism that provides robustness and flexibility to sinus node pacemaking. We have developed transgenic mice with reduced cardiac SERCA2 abundance (Serca2 KO) as a model for investigating SERCA2's role in sinus node pacemaking. Methods and Results: In Serca2 KO mice, ventricular SERCA2a protein content measured by Western blotting was 75% (P < 0.05) lower than that in control mice (Serca2 FF) tissue. Immunofluorescent labeling of SERCA2a in ventricular, atrial, sinus node periphery and center tissue sections revealed 46, 45, 55, and 34% (all P < 0.05 vs. Serca2 FF) lower labeling, respectively and a mosaic pattern of expression. With telemetric ECG surveillance, we observed no difference in basal heart rate, but the PR-interval was prolonged in Serca2 KO mice: 49 ± 1 vs. 40 ± 1 ms (P < 0.001) in Serca2 FF. During exercise, heart rate in Serca2 KO mice was elevated to 667 ± 22 bpm, considerably less than 780 ± 17 bpm (P < 0.01) in Serca2 FF. In isolated sinus node preparations, 2 mM Cs+ caused bradycardia that was equally pronounced in Serca2 KO and Serca2 FF (32 ± 4% vs. 29 ± 5%), indicating no change in the pacemaker current, If. Disabling the Ca2+-clock with 2 μM ryanodine induced bradycardia that was less pronounced in Serca2 KO preparations (9 ± 1% vs. 20 ± 3% in Serca2 FF; P < 0.05), suggesting a disrupted Ca2+-clock. Mathematical modeling was used to dissect the effects of membrane- and Ca2+-clock components on Serca2 KO mouse heart rate and sinus node action potential. Computer modeling predicted a slowing of heart rate with SERCA2 downregulation and the heart rate slowing was pronounced at >70% reduction in SERCA2 activity. Conclusions: Serca2 KO mice show a disrupted Ca2+-clock-dependent pacemaker mechanism contributing to impaired sinus node and atrioventricular node function.
Original languageEnglish
Article number197
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jun 2016


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