Changes in force and calcium sensitivity in the developing avian heart

Can J Physiol Pharmacol. 1991 Nov;69(11):1692-7. doi: 10.1139/y91-251.


The aim of this study was to characterize the development of the contractile properties of intact and chemically skinned muscle from chicken heart and to compare these characteristics with those of developing mammalian heart reported by others. Small trabeculae were dissected from left ventricles of Arbor Acre chickens between embryonic day 7 and young adulthood (7 weeks post-hatching). At all ages, increasing extracellular calcium (0.45-3.6 mM) progressively increased twitch force of electrically stimulated trabeculae. Twitch force at 1.8 mM extracellular calcium, normalized to cross-sectional area, increased to a maximum at 1 day post-hatching, remained constant through 3 weeks post-hatching, but then decreased at 7 weeks post-hatching. The maximal calcium-activated force of trabeculae chemically skinned with Triton X-100 detergent increased to a maximum 2 days before the time of hatching and was not significantly changed up to 7 weeks post-hatching. Over the ages studied, average twitch force in 1.8 mM calcium was between 26 and 66% of maximal calcium-activated force after skinning, suggesting that the contractile apparatus is not fully activated during the twitch in normal Ringer. In skinned trabeculae, the calcium sensitivity of the contractile apparatus was higher in the embryo than in the young adult. These age-dependent changes in calcium sensitivity are correlated with isoform switching in troponin T. A decrease in pH from 7.0 to 6.5 decreased the calcium sensitivity of the contractile apparatus to a greater degree in skinned trabeculae from young adult hearts than in those from embryonic hearts. This change in susceptibility to acidosis is temporally associated with isoform switching in troponin I.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 250 WORDS)

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Acidosis / physiopathology
  • Animals
  • Calcium / pharmacology*
  • Chick Embryo
  • Chickens
  • Heart / drug effects
  • Heart / embryology
  • Heart / growth & development*
  • Myocardial Contraction / drug effects
  • Myocardial Contraction / physiology*


  • Calcium