Inhomogeneity in the response to mechanical stimulation: cardiac muscle function and gene expression

Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2008 Jun-Jul;97(2-3):268-81. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2008.02.010. Epub 2008 Feb 13.


Mechanical stimulation has important consequences for myocardial function. However, this stimulation and the response to it, is not uniform. The right ventricle is thinner walled and operates at lower pressure than the left ventricle. Within the ventricles, differences in the orientation of myocardial fibres exist. These differences produce inhomogeneity in the stress and strain between and across the ventricles. Possibly as a result of these variations in mechanical stimulation, there are well characterised inhomogeneities in gene expression and protein function within the ventricular myocardium, for example in the transient outward K+ current and its associated Kv channels. Perhaps not surprisingly, it is becoming apparent that gradients of expression and function exist for proteins that are intimately involved in the response to mechanical stimulation in the heart, for example in the left ventricle of the rat there is a transmural gradient in mRNA and current density of the mechanosensitive two-pore domain K+ channel TREK-1 (ENDO>EPI). In healthy hearts it is assumed that these gradients are important for normal function and therefore that their disruption in diseased myocardium is involved in the dysfunction that occurs.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Gene Expression
  • Heart / physiology*
  • Mechanotransduction, Cellular / physiology*
  • Myocardium / metabolism*
  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain / physiology*
  • Rats
  • Ventricular Function


  • Potassium Channels, Tandem Pore Domain
  • potassium channel protein TREK-1