Mechano-electric and mechano-chemo-transduction in cardiomyocytes

J Physiol. 2020 Apr;598(7):1285-1305. doi: 10.1113/JP276494. Epub 2020 Feb 3.


Cardiac excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling is influenced by (at least) three dynamic systems that couple and feedback to one another (see Abstract Figure). Here we review the mechanical effects on cardiomyocytes that include mechano-electro-transduction (commonly referred to as mechano-electric coupling, MEC) and mechano-chemo-transduction (MCT) mechanisms at cell and molecular levels which couple to Ca2+ -electro and E-C coupling reviewed elsewhere. These feedback loops from muscle contraction and mechano-transduction to the Ca2+ homeodynamics and to the electrical excitation are essential for understanding the E-C coupling dynamic system and arrhythmogenesis in mechanically loaded hearts. This white paper comprises two parts, each reflecting key aspects from the 2018 UC Davis symposium: MEC (how mechanical load influences electrical dynamics) and MCT (how mechanical load alters cell signalling and Ca2+ dynamics). Of course, such separation is artificial since Ca2+ dynamics profoundly affect ion channels and electrogenic transporters and vice versa. In time, these dynamic systems and their interactions must become fully integrated, and that should be a goal for a comprehensive understanding of how mechanical load influences cell signalling, Ca2+ homeodynamics and electrical dynamics. In this white paper we emphasize current understanding, consensus, controversies and the pressing issues for future investigations. Space constraints make it impossible to cover all relevant articles in the field, so we will focus on the topics discussed at the symposium.

Keywords: Anrep effect; Frank-Starling; cardiac muscle; excitation-contraction coupling; mechano-chemo-transduction; mechano-electric coupling; myocardial contractility.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Excitation Contraction Coupling
  • Humans
  • Myocardial Contraction*
  • Myocytes, Cardiac*