Cardiac resynchronization therapy (CRT), the application of biventricular stimulation to correct discoordinate contraction, is the only heart failure treatment that enhances acute and chronic systolic function, increases cardiac work, and reduces mortality. Resting myocyte function also increases after CRT despite only modest improvement in calcium transients, suggesting that CRT may enhance myofilament calcium responsiveness. To test this hypothesis, we examined adult dogs subjected to tachypacing-induced heart failure for 6 weeks, concurrent with ventricular dyssynchrony (HFdys) or CRT. Myofilament force-calcium relationships were measured in skinned trabeculae and/or myocytes. Compared with control, maximal calcium-activated force and calcium sensitivity declined globally in HFdys; however, CRT restored both. Phosphatase PP1 induced calcium desensitization in control and CRT-treated cells, while HFdys cells were unaffected, implying that CRT enhances myofilament phosphorylation. Proteomics revealed phosphorylation sites on Z-disk and M-band proteins, which were predicted to be targets of glycogen synthase kinase-3β (GSK-3β). We found that GSK-3β was deactivated in HFdys and reactivated by CRT. Mass spectrometry of myofilament proteins from HFdys animals incubated with GSK-3β confirmed GSK-3β–dependent phosphorylation at many of the same sites observed with CRT. GSK-3β restored calcium sensitivity in HFdys, but did not affect control or CRT cells. These data indicate that CRT improves calcium responsiveness of myofilaments following HFdys through GSK-3β reactivation, identifying a therapeutic approach to enhancing contractile function.
Jonathan A. Kirk, Ronald J. Holewinski, Viola Kooij, Giulio Agnetti, Richard S. Tunin, Namthip Witayavanitkul, Pieter P. de Tombe, Wei Dong Gao, Jennifer Van Eyk, David A. Kass
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