Physiological determinants of contractile force generation and calcium handling in mouse myocardium

Linda B. Stull, Michelle K. Leppo, Eduardo Marbán, Paul M L Janssen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

62 Scopus citations


Despite the fact that the mouse has become a common tool to study cardiac dysfunction, little is known regarding the regulation of murine cardiac contractility. We have investigated the three main mechanisms that regulate cardiac output (frequency-dependent activation, length-dependent activation, and β-adrenergic stimulation) in ultra-thin right ventricular (RV) trabeculae from the mouse heart at body temperature (37°C). [Ca2+]1 was recorded in a subset of trabeculae iontophoretically loaded with fura-2, and rapid cooling contractures were performed to estimate the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) calcium load. The force-frequency relationship was positive (2-12 Hz); force increased, albeit slightly, while relaxation timing decreased. As expected, in response to β-adrenergic stimulation, force development increased while contractile duration decreased, and increased muscle length led to increased force generation. Changes in SR calcium load and the calcium transient amplitude paralleled effects on active force generation. Despite several qualitative similarities with other mammalian species, the reserve for augmentation of force via either increased frequency or β-adrenergic stimulation was considerably smaller in mouse than in other animals. Therefore, changes in preload, as opposed to increased HR or adrenergic tone, appears to be a much more important determinant of cardiac performance in the mouse than in larger mammals.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1367-1376
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number10
StatePublished - Oct 1 2002


  • Calcium
  • Cardiac
  • Contractility
  • Mice
  • Ventricular trabeculae

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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