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The intercalated disc: a mechanosensing signalling node in cardiomyopathy

Research output: Contribution to journalReview article

Mihai Pruna, Elisabeth Ehler

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)931-946
Number of pages16
JournalBiophysical Reviews
Issue number4
Accepted/In press1 Jan 2020
Published1 Aug 2020

King's Authors


Cardiomyocytes, the cells generating contractile force in the heart, are connected to each other through a highly specialised structure, the intercalated disc (ID), which ensures force transmission and transduction between neighbouring cells and allows the myocardium to function in synchrony. In addition, cardiomyocytes possess an intrinsic ability to sense mechanical changes and to regulate their own contractile output accordingly. To achieve this, some of the components responsible for force transmission have evolved to sense changes in tension and to trigger a biochemical response that results in molecular and cellular changes in cardiomyocytes. This becomes of particular importance in cardiomyopathies, where the heart is exposed to increased mechanical load and needs to adapt to sustain its contractile function. In this review, we will discuss key mechanosensing elements present at the intercalated disc and provide an overview of the signalling molecules involved in mediating the responses to changes in mechanical force.

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