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CaMKII Inhibition in Heart Failure, Beneficial, Harmful, or Both

  • Biology
  • Physiology
  • Calmodulin-Dependent Protein Kinase Ii
  • Calcium Channel
  • Myocytes
  • Excitation-Contraction Coupling
  • Calcium Handling
  • Diastolic Function
  • Biology
  • Medicine


Calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) has been proposed to be a therapeutic target for heart failure (HF). However, the cardiac effect of chronic CaMKII inhibition in HF has not been well understood. We have tested alterations of Ca2+ handling, excitation-contraction coupling, and in vivo β-adrenergic regulation in pressure-overload HF mice with CaMKIIδ knockout (KO). HF was produced in wild-type (WT) and KO mice 1 wk after severe thoracic aortic banding (sTAB) with a continuous left ventricle (LV) dilation and reduction of ejection fraction for up to 3 wk postbanding. Cardiac hypertrophy was similar between WT HF and KO HF mice. However, KO HF mice manifested exacerbation of diastolic function and reduction in cardiac reserve to β-adrenergic stimulation. Compared with WT HF, L-type calcium channel current (ICa) density in KO HF LV was decreased without changes in ICa activation and inactivation kinetics, whereas ICa recovery from inactivation was accelerated and Ca2+-dependent ICa facilitation, a positive staircase blunted in WT HF, was recovered. However, ICa response to isoproterenol was reduced. KO HF myocytes manifested dramatic decrease in sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ leak and slowed cytostolic Ca2+ concentration decline. Sarcomere shortening was increased, but relaxation was slowed. In addition, an increase in myofilament sensitivity to Ca2+ and the slow skeletal muscle troponin I-to-cardiac troponin I ratio and interstitial fibrosis and a decrease in Na/Ca exchange function and myocyte apoptosis were observed in KO HF LV. CaMKIIδ KO cannot suppress severe pressure-overload-induced HF. Although cellular contractility is improved, it reduces in vivo cardiac reserve to β-adrenergic regulation and deteriorates diastolic function. Our findings challenge the strategy of CaMKII inhibition in HF.

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