Cardiac muscle disease and therapeutic targets

Maike Schuldt, Larissa Dorsch, Diederik Kuster, Jolanda van der Velden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Hypertrophic cardiomyopathy (HCM) is the most common genetic heart disease. While ∼50% of patients with HCM carry a sarcomere gene mutation (sarcomere mutation-positive, SMP), the genetic background is unknown in the other half of the patients (sarcomere mutation-negative, SMN). Gene mutations are most often present in genes encoding the sarcomere proteins myosin heavy chain, myosin-binding protein C, and troponin T. Studies in cardiac tissue samples from patients with obstructive HCM that were obtained during myectomy surgery showed increased myofilament calcium sensitivity, increased kinetics and tension cost, and a reduction of the super-relaxed state of myosin, which is associated with an energy-conserving status of the crossbridges. The increase in myofilament calcium sensitivity is observed at a low dose of mutant protein, while the magnitude of the increase in calcium sensitivity depends on the specific mutation location. These mutation-mediated myofilament changes may underlie inefficient in vivo cardiac performance in mutation carriers. Reduced cardiac efficiency has been observed before onset of cardiac hypertrophy and at advanced disease stages. In addition, impaired diastolic function is an early disease characteristic of HCM. Our recent proteomics studies revealed increased detyrosination of microtubules, which may be a cause of diastolic dysfunction. Recent treatments that target inefficient cardiac performance, such as myosin inhibitors and metabolic drug therapies, may have the potential to prevent, delay, or even reverse disease in HCM-mutation carriers. Treatment response may depend on the specific gene mutation in SMP individuals and may explain diverse response of HCM patients to therapy. While mutation-mediated cardiomyocyte defects have become clear in past years, more research is warranted to define the cellular pathomechanisms of cardiac dysfunction in SMN patients.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of general physiology
Issue number9
Publication statusPublished - 5 Sept 2022

Cite this