Calcium siganlling in the heart. From contraction to gene expression.
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The human heart contracts approximately 75 times per minute under resting conditions. These contractions are mediated by fluctuations in cytosolic Ca2+ concentration. In heart failure the cardiomyocytes are not able to handle these Ca2+ signals properly. As a consequence the heart starts to remodel, a process initiated by altered gene transcription. The regulation of these processes is mediated by one and the same signalling ion, i.e. Ca2+. This review will discuss Ca2+ handling mechanisms ranging from cytosolic Ca2+ homeostasis and the regulation of gene expression to their role in heart failure.