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Journal of Biomedicine and Biotechnology
Volume 2010, Article ID 503906, 17 pages
Review Article

There Goes the Neighborhood: Pathological Alterations in T-Tubule Morphology and Consequences for Cardiomyocyte C a 𝟐 + Handling

1Institute for Experimental Medical Research, Oslo University Hospital Ullevaal, 0407 Oslo, Norway
2Centre for Heart Failure Research, Faculty of Medicine, University of Oslo, 0316 Oslo, Norway

Received 17 November 2009; Accepted 15 January 2010

Academic Editor: Aikaterini Kontrogianni-Konstantopoulos

Copyright © 2010 William E. Louch et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


T-tubules are invaginations of the cardiomyocyte membrane into the cell interior which form a tortuous network. T-tubules provide proximity between the electrically excitable cell membrane and the sarcoplasmic reticulum, the main intracellular C a 2 + store. Tight coupling between the rapidly spreading action potential and C a 2 + release units in the SR membrane ensures synchronous C a 2 + release throughout the cardiomyocyte. This is a requirement for rapid and powerful contraction. In recent years, it has become clear that T-tubule structure and composition are altered in several pathological states which may importantly contribute to contractile defects in these conditions. In this review, we describe the “neighborhood” of proteins in the dyadic cleft which locally controls cardiomyocyte C a 2 + homeostasis and how alterations in T-tubule structure and composition may alter this neighborhood during heart failure, atrial fibrillation, and diabetic cardiomyopathy. Based on this evidence, we propose that T-tubules have the potential to serve as novel therapeutic targets.