Chronic volume/pressure overload-induced heart failure augments oxidative stress and activates matrix metalloproteinase which causes endocardial endothelial-myocyte (EM) uncoupling eventually leading to decline in myocardial systolic and diastolic function. The elevated levels of homocysteine (Hcy), hyperhomocysteinemia (HHcy), are associated with decline in cardiac performance. Hcy impairs the EM functions associated with the induction of ventricular hypertrophy leading to cardiac stiffness and diastolic heart failure. Hcy-induced neurological defects are mediated by the NMDA-R (N-methyl-D-aspartate (NMDA) receptor) activation. NMDA-R is expressed in the heart. However, the role of NMDA-R on cardiac function during HHcy is still in its infancy. The blockade of NMDA-R attenuates NMDA-agonist-induced increase in the heart rate. Hcy increases intracellular calcium and activates calpain and calpain-associated mitochondrial (mt) abnormalities have been identified in HHcy. Mitochondrial permeabilization and uncoupling in the pathological setting is fueled by redox stress and calcium mishandling. Recently the role of cyclophilin D, a component of the mitochondrial membrane permeability transition pore, has been identified in cardiac-ischemia. Mechanisms underlying the potentiation between NMDA-R activation and mitochondrial defects leading to cardiac dysfunction during HHcy remain to be elucidated. This review addresses the mitochondrial mechanism by which Hcy contributes to the decline in mechano-electrical function and arrhythmogenesis via agonizing NMDA-R. The putative role of mitochondrial MMP activation, protease stress and mitochondrial permeability transition in cardiac conduction during HHcy is discussed. The review suggests that Hcy increases calcium overload and oxidative stress in the mitochondria and amplifies the activation of mtMMP, causing the opening of mitochondrial permeability transition pore leading to mechano-electrical dysfunction.
Keywords: Cardiac NMDA-R1, cardiomyocytes, calcium dynamics, redox stress, extracellular matrix, calpain, intracellular MMP, putative MMP (PUMP), cyclophilin-D, mitochondrial permeability transition
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