Dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is often associated with sarcomere protein mutations that confer reduced myofilament tension–generating capacity. We demonstrated that cardiac twitch tension-time integrals can be targeted and tuned to prevent DCM remodeling in hearts with contractile dysfunction. We employed a transgenic murine model of DCM caused by the D230N-tropomyosin (Tm) mutation and designed a sarcomere-based intervention specifically targeting the twitch tension-time integral of D230N-Tm hearts using multiscale computational models of intramolecular and intermolecular interactions in the thin filament and cell-level contractile simulations. Our models predicted that increasing the calcium sensitivity of thin filament activation using the cardiac troponin C (cTnC) variant L48Q can sufficiently augment twitch tension-time integrals of D230N-Tm hearts. Indeed, cardiac muscle isolated from double-transgenic hearts expressing D230N-Tm and L48Q cTnC had increased calcium sensitivity of tension development and increased twitch tension-time integrals compared with preparations from hearts with D230N-Tm alone. Longitudinal echocardiographic measurements revealed that DTG hearts retained normal cardiac morphology and function, whereas D230N-Tm hearts developed progressive DCM. We present a computational and experimental framework for targeting molecular mechanisms governing the twitch tension of cardiomyopathic hearts to counteract putative mechanical drivers of adverse remodeling and open possibilities for tension-based treatments of genetic cardiomyopathies.


Joseph D. Powers, Kristina B. Kooiker, Allison B. Mason, Abigail E. Teitgen, Galina V. Flint, Jil C. Tardiff, Steven D. Schwartz, Andrew D. McCulloch, Michael Regnier, Jennifer Davis, Farid Moussavi-Harami


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