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Publication Date

11-11-2016

Keywords

ion channels, cardiac fibroblasts, heart diseases, aging

Abstract

In an aged population, cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of fatality and morbidity. Age-related fibrotic remodeling of the heart contributes to progressive myocardial dysfunction. Cardiac fibroblasts (CF), responsible for the maintenance of extracellular matrix and fibrosis process, play an important role in cardiac health and disease. CFs influence myocardial function by their chemical, electrical and mechanical interactions with cardiomyocytes through extracellular matrix deposition or secretion of cytokines and growth factors. These, in turn, are modulated by ion channels, macromolecular pores in the plasma membrane that allow selective ionic fluxes of major ions like K+, Ca2+, Na+ or Cl-, which affect membrane potential and cellular signal transduction. The importance of ion channels in modulating various functions of CFs, including proliferation, differentiation, secretion and apoptosis, is being recognized from recent studies of CFs from animal models and tissue from patients with various cardiac pathologies. Understanding the role of ion channels in CFs under physiological conditions and their alterations in age-related cardiac diseases may help facilitate development of novel therapeutic strategies to limit cardiac fibrosis and its adverse effect on myocardial function. This narrative review summarizes the knowledge gained thus far on ion channels in CFs and their relationship with cardiac diseases in human and experimental animal models.

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