Modifications to cell relaxation and handling of intracellular Ca have been demonstrated in animals with cardiac cell hypertrophy leading to decompensated heart failure. A previously described model of renal hypertension leading to cardiac cell hypertrophy in the guinea pig, produced using the Goldblatt 2-kidney, 1-clip technique, was used to investigate which of the main mechanisms causing cell relaxation (the sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca-adenosinetriphosphatase and Na/Ca exchanger) are altered in hypertrophy. Relaxation upon rewarming from a rapid cooling contracture was slowed in hypertrophied (H) compared with control (C) cells. Relaxation was further slowed in H compared with C cells when Na/Ca exchange was inhibited by rewarming in a Na-free, Ca-free solution and slowed most markedly in H cells in the presence of 10 mM caffeine. Hypertrophy led to greater modification of cell length relaxation in comparison with the decline in the indo-1 transient, but the force-pCa relationship in skinned muscles showed that myofilament sensitivity was unchanged. Such results indicate that cell relaxation and Ca handling are affected in hypertrophy, possibly involving modifications of Na/Ca exchange activity.
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