Mechanosensitivity is essential for heart function just as for all other cells and organs in the body, and it is involved in both normal physiology and diseases processes of the cardiovascular system. In this review, we have outlined the relationship between mechanosensitivity and heart physiology, including the Frank-Starling law of the heart and mechanoelectric feedback. We then focused on molecules involved in mechanotransduction, particularly mechanosensitive ion channels. We have also discussed the involvement of mechanosensitivity in heart diseases, such as arrhythmias, hypertrophy and ischaemic heart disease. Finally, mechanobiology in cardiogenesis is described with regard to regenerative medicine.
© 2013 The Authors. Published by Foundation for Cellular and Molecular Medicine/Blackwell Publishing Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.