Adult human cardiomyocyte mechanics in osteogenesis imperfecta

Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2023 Oct 1;325(4):H814-H821. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00391.2023. Epub 2023 Aug 11.


Osteogenesis imperfecta (OI) is an extracellular matrix disorder characterized by defects in collagen-1 transport or synthesis, resulting in bone abnormalities. Although reduced collagen in OI hearts has been associated with reduced myocardial stiffness and left ventricular remodeling, its impact on cardiomyocyte (CM) function has not been studied. Here, we explore the tissue-level and CM-level properties of a heart from a deceased organ donor with OI type I. Proteomics and histology confirmed strikingly low expression of collagen 1. Trabecular stretch confirmed low stiffness on the tissue level. However, CMs retained normal viscoelastic properties as revealed by nanoindentation. Interestingly, OI CMs were hypercontractile relative to nonfailing controls after 24 h of culture. In response to 48 h of culture on surfaces with physiological (10 kPa) and pathological (50 kPa) stiffness, OI CMs demonstrated a greater reduction in contractility than nonfailing CMs, suggesting that OI CMs may have an impaired stress response. Levels of detyrosinated α-tubulin, known to be responsive to extracellular stiffness, were reduced in OI CMs. Together these data confirm multiple CM-level adaptations to low stiffness that extend our understanding of OI in the heart and how CMs respond to extracellular stiffness.NEW & NOTEWORTHY In a rare donation of a heart from an individual with osteogenesis imperfecta (OI), we explored cardiomyocyte (CM) adaptations to low stiffness. This represents the first assessment of cardiomyocyte mechanics in OI. The data reveal the hypercontractility of OI CMs with rapid rundown when exposed to acute stiffness challenges, extending our understanding of OI. These data demonstrate that the impact of OI on myocardial mechanics includes cardiomyocyte adaptations beyond known direct effects on the extracellular matrix.

Keywords: cardiomyocyte; collagen; microtubules; osteogenesis imperfecta; stiffness.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Collagen / metabolism
  • Collagen Type I / metabolism
  • Extracellular Matrix / metabolism
  • Humans
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta* / metabolism
  • Osteogenesis Imperfecta* / pathology


  • Collagen
  • Collagen Type I