Mitochondrial dynamics in the adult cardiomyocytes: which roles for a highly specialized cell?

Front Physiol. 2013 May 10;4:102. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2013.00102. eCollection 2013.


Mitochondrial dynamics is a recent topic of research in the field of cardiac physiology. The study of mechanisms involved in the morphological changes and in the mobility of mitochondria is legitimate since the adult cardiomyocytes possess numerous mitochondria which occupy at least 30% of cell volume. However, architectural constraints exist in the cardiomyocyte that limit mitochondrial movements and communication between adjacent mitochondria. Still, the proteins involved in mitochondrial fusion and fission are highly expressed in these cells and could be involved in different processes important for the cardiac function. For example, they are required for mitochondrial biogenesis to synthesize new mitochondria and for the quality-control of the organelles. They are also involved in inner membrane organization and may play a role in apoptosis. More generally, change in mitochondrial morphology can have consequences in the functioning of the respiratory chain, in the regulation of the mitochondrial permeability transition pore (MPTP), and in the interactions with other organelles. Furthermore, the proteins involved in fusion and fission of mitochondria are altered in cardiac pathologies such as ischemia/reperfusion or heart failure (HF), and appear to be valuable targets for pharmacological therapies. Thus, mitochondrial dynamics deserves particular attention in cardiac research. The present review draws up a report of our knowledge on these phenomena.

Keywords: adult; cardiomyocytes; cytoarchitecture; energetic metabolism; mitochondrial dynamics.