The stretch-activation response may be critical to the proper functioning of the mammalian heart

Ramesh Vemuri, Edward B. Lankford, Karl Poetter, Shahin Hassanzadeh, Kazuyo Takeda, Zu Xi Yu, Victor J. Ferrans, Neal D. Epstein

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

65 Scopus citations


The 'stretch-activation' response is essential to the generation of the oscillatory power required for the beating of insect wings. It has been conjectured but not previously shown that a stretch-activation response contributes to the performance of a beating heart. Here, we generated transgenic mice that express a human mutant myosin essential light chain derived from a family with an inherited cardiac hypertrophy. These mice faithfully replicate the cardiac disease of the patients with this mutant allele. They provide the opportunity to study the stretch-activation response before the hearts are distorted by the hypertrophic process. Studies disclose a mismatch between the physiologic heart rate and resonant frequency of the cardiac papillary muscles expressing the mutant essential light chain. This discordance reduces oscillatory power at frequencies that correspond to physiologic heart-rates and is followed by subsequent hypertrophy. It appears, therefore, that the stretchactivation response, first described in insect flight muscle, may play a role in the mammalian heart, and its further study may suggest a new way to modulate human cardiac function.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1048-1053
Number of pages6
JournalProceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America
Issue number3
StatePublished - Feb 2 1999

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • General


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