Objectives: A hallmark of human heart failure is prolonged myocardial relaxation. Although the intrinsic mechanism of phospholamban coupling to the Ca(2+)-ATPase is unaltered in normal and failed human hearts, it remains possible that regulation of phospholamban phosphorylation by cAMP-dependent mechanisms or other second messenger pathways could be perturbed, which may account partially for the observed dysfunctions of the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) associated with this disease.
Methods: cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaM kinase) were characterized initially by DEAE-Sepharose chromatography in hearts from patients with end-stage dilated cardiomyopathy. We measured the activity of PKA and CaM kinase in left ventricular tissue of failing (idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy; ischemic heart disease) and nonfailing human hearts.
Results: Basal PKA activity was not changed between failing and nonfailing hearts. One major peak of CaM kinase activity was detected by DEAE-Sepharose chromatography. CaM kinase activity was increased almost 3-fold in idiopathic dilated cardiomyopathy. In addition, hemodynamical data (left ventricular ejection fraction, cardiac index) from patients suffering from IDC positively correlate with CaM kinase activity.
Conclusions: Increased CaM kinase activity in hearts from patients with dilated cardiomyopathy could play a role in the abnormal Ca2+ handling of the SR and heart muscle cell.