Changwon Kho, Ahyoung Lee, and Roger J. Hajjar
Cardiovascular Research Center, Mount Sinai School of Medicine, One Gustave L. Levy Place, New York, NY 10029, USA
Correspondence to: R. J. Hajjar
Cardiac myocyte function is dependent on the synchronized movements of Ca2+ into and out of the cell, as well as between the cytosol and sarcoplasmic reticulum. These movements determine cardiac rhythm and regulate excitation?contraction coupling. Ca2+ cycling is mediated by a number of critical Ca2+-handling proteins and transporters, such as L-type Ca2+ channels (LTCCs) and sodium/calcium exchangers in the sarcolemma, and sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase 2a (SERCA2a), ryanodine receptors, and cardiac phospholamban in the sarcoplasmic reticulum. The entry of Ca2+ into the cytosol through LTCCs activates the release of Ca2+ from the sarcoplasmic reticulum through ryanodine receptor channels and initiates myocyte contraction, whereas SERCA2a and cardiac phospholamban have a key role in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ sequesteration and myocyte relaxation. Excitation-contraction coupling is regulated by phosphorylation of Ca2+-handling proteins. Abnormalities in sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ cycling are hallmarks of heart failure and contribute to the pathophysiology and progression of this disease. Correcting impaired intracellular Ca2+ cycling is a promising new approach for the treatment of heart failure. Novel therapeutic strategies that enhance myocyte Ca2+ homeostasis could prevent and reverse adverse cardiac remodeling and improve clinical outcomes in patients with heart failure.