In silico identification of potential calcium dynamics and sarcomere targets for recovering left ventricular function in rat heart failure with preserved ejection fraction

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Abstract

Heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF) is a complex disease associated with multiple co-morbidities, where impaired cardiac mechanics are often the end effect. At the cellular level, cardiac mechanics can be pharmacologically manipulated by altering calcium signalling and the sarcomere. However, the link between cellular level modulations and whole organ pump function is incompletely understood. Our goal is to develop and use a multi-scale computational cardiac mechanics model of the obese ZSF1 HFpEF rat to identify important biomechanical mechanisms that underpin impaired cardiac function and to predict how whole-heart mechanical function can be recovered through altering cellular calcium dynamics and/or cellular contraction. The rat heart was modelled using a 3D biventricular biomechanics model. Biomechanics were described by 16 parameters, corresponding to intracellular calcium transient, sarcomere dynamics, cardiac tissue and hemodynamics properties. The model simulated left ventricular (LV) pressure-volume loops that were described by 14 scalar features. We trained a Gaussian process emulator to map the 16 input parameters to each of the 14 outputs. A global sensitivity analysis was performed, and identified calcium dynamics and thin and thick filament kinetics as key determinants of the organ scale pump function. We employed Bayesian history matching to build a model of the ZSF1 rat heart. Next, we recovered the LV function, described by ejection fraction, peak pressure, maximum rate of pressure rise and isovolumetric relaxation time constant. We found that by manipulating calcium, thin and thick filament properties we can recover 34%, 28% and 24% of the LV function in the ZSF1 rat heart, respectively, and 39% if we manipulate all of them together. We demonstrated how a combination of biophysically based models and their derived emulators can be used to identify potential pharmacological targets. We predicted that cardiac function can be best recovered in ZSF1 rats by desensitising the myofilament and reducing the affinity to intracellular calcium concentration and overall prolonging the sarcomere staying in the active force generating state.

Original languageEnglish
Article numbere1009646
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Volume17
Issue number12
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 6 Dec 2021

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