Mitral valve closure may be aided by contraction of anterior leaflet (AL) cardiac myocytes located in the annular third of the leaflet. This contraction, observed as a stiffening of the annular region of the AL during isovolumic contraction (IVC), is abolished by beta-blockade (ßB). Sub-threshold rapid pacing in the region of aorto-mitral continuity (STIM) also causes AL stiffening, although this increases the stiffness of the entire leaflet during both IVC and isovolumic relaxation (IVR). We investigated whether these contractile events share a common pathway or whether multiple AL contractile mechanisms may be present. Ten sheep had radiopaque-markers implanted: 13 silhouetting the LV, 16 on the mitral annulus, an array of 16 on the AL, and one on each papillary muscle tip. 4-D marker coordinates were obtained from biplane videofluoroscopy during control (C), ßB (esmolol) and during ßB+STIM. Circumferential and radial stiffness values for three AL regions (Annular, Belly, and free-Edge), were obtained from inverse finite element analysis of AL displacements in response to trans-leaflet pressure changes during IVC and IVR. ßB+STIM increased stiffness values in all regions at both IVC and IVR by 35 ± 7% relative to ßB (p<0.001). Thus, even when AL myocyte contraction was blocked by ßB, STIM stiffened all regions of the AL during both IVC and IVR. This demonstrates the presence of at least two contractile systems in the AL; one being the AL annular cardiac muscle, involving a ß-dependent pathway, others via a ß-independent pathway, likely involving valvular interstitial cells and/or AL smooth muscle cells.
View details for DOI 10.1016/j.jbiomech.2011.01.006
View details for Web of Science ID 000291075800015
View details for PubMedID 21292268