Aims: Contractile dysfunction associated with myocardial ischaemia is a significant cause of morbidity and mortality in the elderly. Strategies to protect the aged heart from ischaemia-mediated pump failure are needed. We hypothesized that troponin I-mediated augmentation of myofilament calcium sensitivity would protect cardiac function in aged mice. Methods and results: To address this, we investigated transgenic (Tg) mice expressing a histidine-substituted form of adult cardiac troponin I (cTnI A164H), which increases myofilament calcium sensitivity in a pH-dependent manner. Serial echocardiography revealed that Tg hearts showed significantly improved systolic function at 4 months, which was sustained for 2 years based on ejection fraction and velocity of circumferential fibre shortening. Age-related diastolic dysfunction was also attenuated in Tg mice as assessed by Doppler measurements of the mitral valve inflow and lateral annulus Doppler tissue imaging. During acute hypoxia, cardiac contractility significantly improved in aged Tg mice made evident by increased stroke volume, end systolic pressure, and +dP/dt compared with non-transgenic mice. Conclusion: This study shows that increasing myofilament function by means of a pH-responsive histidine button engineered into cTnI results in enhanced baseline heart function in Tg mice over their lifetime, and during acute hypoxia improves survival in aged mice by maintaining cardiac contractility.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
The authors acknowledge support from National Institutes of Health (RO1 HL 059301 to J.M.) and American Heart Association (0715632Z to N.P.).
- Cardiac function
- Troponin I