Successive contractile periods activate mitochondria at the onset of contractions in intact rat cardiac trabeculae

Rob C.I. Wüst*, Ger J.M. Stienen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticleAcademicpeer-review

52 Downloads (Pure)


The rate of oxidative phosphorylation depends on the contractile activity of the heart. Cardiac mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation is determined by free ADP concentration, mitochondrial Ca2+ accumulation, mitochondrial enzyme activities, and Krebs cycle intermediates. The purpose of the present study was to examine the factors that limit oxidative phosphorylation upon rapid changes in contractile activity in cardiac muscle. We tested the hypotheses that prior contractile performance enhances the changes in NAD(P)H and FAD concentration upon an increase in contractile activity and that this mitochondrial "priming" depends on pyruvate dehydrogenase activity. Intact rat cardiac trabeculae were electrically stimulated at 0.5 Hz for at least 30 min. Thereafter, two equal bouts at elevated stimulation frequency of 1, 2, or 3 Hz were applied for 3 min with 3 min of 0.5-Hz stimulation in between. No discernible time delay was observed in the changes in NAD(P)H and FAD fluorescence upon rapid changes in contractile activity. The amplitudes of the rapid changes in fluorescence upon an increase in stimulation frequency (the on-transients) were smaller than upon a decrease in stimulation frequency (the off-transients). A first bout in glucose-containing superfusion solution resulted, during the second bout, in an increase in the amplitudes of the on-transients, but the off-transients remained the same. No such priming effect was observed after addition of 10 mM pyruvate. These results indicate that mitochondrial priming can be observed in cardiac muscle in situ and that pyruvate dehydrogenase activity is critically involved in the mitochondrial adaptation to increases in contractile performance.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1003-1011
Number of pages9
JournalJournal of Applied Physiology (1985)
Issue number4
Early online date24 Apr 2018
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2018


We acknowledge the support from the Netherlands CardioVascular Research Initiative: Dutch Heart Foundation, Dutch Federation of University Medical Centres, Netherlands Organisation for Health Research and Development, and Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences.

FundersFunder number
Dutch Heart Foundation
Royal Netherlands Academy of Sciences
Nederlandse Federatie van Universitair Medische Centra


    • Glucose
    • Mitochondrial energetic
    • Myocardium
    • Pyruvate
    • Repeated contractions


    Dive into the research topics of 'Successive contractile periods activate mitochondria at the onset of contractions in intact rat cardiac trabeculae'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

    Cite this