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Regulation of the sodium pump during normal pregnancy and its effect on the function of cardiomyocytes is poorly understood. Our objective was to evaluate the possible implication of the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase, the sodium pump which controls cellular ionic and metabolic homeostasis, in the adaptations of cardiomyocytes to normal pregnancy. We have used Western blots and patch-clamp measurements to identify changes in the sodium pump proteins. Confocal microscopy was applied to estimate intracellular sodium concentration. Time-resolved spectroscopy was employed to measure mitochondrial NAD(P)H fluorescence and estimate oxidative metabolic state. Optical microscopy was adopted to study the contractility responses of cardiomyocytes. Cells from non-pregnant and pregnant rats (1 day prior parturition) were studied. Our results showed lower protein expression of the α1 Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase isoform in cardiomyocytes in pregnant rats, decreased sodium pump membrane current and elevated steady-state sodium concentration. In addition, ouabain, the inhibitor of the sodium pump capable of increasing cardiomyocyte contractility in non-pregnant rats in a concentration-dependent manner, failed to affect cell contractions in pregnant rats. We also noted modified responsiveness of the mitochondrial metabolic state to ouabain in cardiac cells. The gathered data confirmed that in pregnant rats, the sodium pump protein content and transmembrane flux are decreased, while the sensitivity of cardiomyocyte contractility and the sensitivity of mitochondrial metabolic redox state to ouabain are modified, pointing to regulation of the Na(+)-K(+)-ATPase during cardiac cell adaptations to normal pregnancy.

Citation

F Elzwiei, V Bassien-Capsa, J St-Louis, A Chorvatova. Regulation of the sodium pump during cardiomyocyte adaptation to pregnancy. Experimental physiology. 2013 Jan;98(1):183-92

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PMID: 22848078

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