Cardiovascular system cell biology is tightly regulated and mitochondria play a relevant role in maintaining heart function. In recent decades, associations between such organelles and the sarco/endoplasmic reticulum (SR) have been raised great interest. Formally identified as mitochondria-associated SR membranes (MAMs), these structures regulate different cellular functions, including calcium management, lipid metabolism, autophagy, oxidative stress, and management of unfolded proteins. In this review, we highlight MAMs' alterations mainly in cardiomyocytes, linked with cardiovascular diseases, such as cardiac ischemia-reperfusion, heart failure, and dilated cardiomyopathy. We also describe proteins that are part of the MAMs' machinery, as the FUN14 domain containing 1 (FUNDC1), the sigma 1 receptor (Sig-1R) and others, which might be new molecular targets to preserve the function and structure of the heart in such diseases. Understanding the machinery of MAMs and its function demands our attention, as such knowledge might contribute to strengthen the role of these relative novel structures in heart diseases.
Keywords: Cardiomyocytes; Cardiovascular diseases; Endoplasmic reticulum; MAMs; Mitochondria.
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