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Effects of mechanical stimulation on cardiac electrical activity, gene expression, protein synthesis, and tissue remodelling have received increasing attention in recent years, as reviewed in this issue of PBMB. Little is known, though, about how changes in ventricular filling affect the cell configuration of cardiomyocytes in the ventricular wall. Here, we present first electron-microscopic insight into changes in cardiomyocyte cell structure in situ during acute ventricular volume manipulation. Apart from confirming the anticipated ventricular volume-related changes in cardiomyocyte sarcomere length, there is evidence of (i) unfolding of 'slack' membrane, primarily from sarcolemmal invaginations near the Z-lines, and (ii) stretch-induced incorporation of sub-membrane caveolae into the surface membrane. The functional relevance of these changes in cardiomyocyte membrane configuration-other than to cater for the length-dependent modulation of the cell surface to cell volume ratio-remains to be elucidated.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Biophys Mol Biol

Publication Date





221 - 227


Animals, Electrophysiology, Feedback, Physiological, Heart Ventricles, Membrane Potentials, Microscopy, Electron, Myocardium, Rabbits, Sarcolemma