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Calcium sparks in the heart: dynamics and regulation

Authors Hoang-Trong T, Ullah A, Jafri MS

Received 2 July 2015

Accepted for publication 12 August 2015

Published 16 October 2015 Volume 2015:6 Pages 203—214

DOI https://doi.org/10.2147/RRB.S61495

Checked for plagiarism Yes

Review by Single-blind

Peer reviewer comments 2

Editor who approved publication: Professor Zvi Kelman

Tuan M Hoang-Trong,1 Aman Ullah,1 M Saleet Jafri1,2

1Department of Molecular Neuroscience, Krasnow Institute for Advanced Study, George Mason University, Fairfax, VA, USA; 2Biomedical Engineering and Technology, University of Maryland, Baltimore, MD, USA

Abstract: Ca2+ plays a central role in the contraction of the heart. It is the bi-directional link between electrical excitation of the heart and contraction. Electrical excitation initiates Ca2+ influx across the sarcolemma and T-tubular membrane that triggered calcium release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Ca2+ sparks are the elementary events of calcium release from the SR. Therefore, understanding the dynamics of Ca2+ sparks is essential for understanding the function of the heart. To this end, numerous experimental and computational studies have focused on this topic, exploring the mechanisms of calcium spark initiation, termination, and regulation and what role these play in normal and patho-physiology. The proper understanding of Ca2+ spark regulation and dynamics serves as the foundation for our insights into a multitude of pathological conditions that may develop and that can be the result of structural and/or functional changes at the cellular or subcellular level. Computational modeling of Ca2+ spark dynamics has proven to be a useful tool to understand Ca2+ spark dynamics. This review addresses our current understanding of Ca2+ sparks and how synchronized SR Ca2+ release, in which Ca2+ sparks is a major pathway, is linked to the different cardiac diseases, especially arrhythmias.

Keywords: leak, arrhythmia, excitation-contraction coupling, phosphorylation

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