In the mature heart, the intercalated disc and costameres provide the cell-cell and cell-matrix junctions respectively. Intercalated disc is situated at the bipolar ends of the cardiomyocytes and the myofibrils are anchored at this structure. The costameres mediate integration with the extracellular matrix that covers individual cardiomyocytes laterally. Costameres are considered as proteic machinery that appears to comprise two protein complexes: the dystrophinglyco-protein complex (DGC) and the vinculintalin-integrin system. There are structural differences between atrial and ventricular myocytes, but there have been relatively few studies that have analyzed costameres and focal adhesion function in cardiac cells. Our previous study carried out only on atrial myocytes, demonstrated that the DGC and talin-vinculin-integrin complexes had a costameric distribution that, unlike skeletal muscle, it localized only on the I band. We performed a further immunohistochemical analysis extending also the evaluation to the normal human cardiac muscle fibers obtained from ventricle and interventricular septum, in order to define the distribution and the spatial relationship between the proteins of the two complexes also in the other heart districts. Immunoconfocal microscopy of cardiac tissue revealed the costameric distribution of DGC and of vinculintalin-integrin system, the association of all tested proteins in intercalated disks, in disagreement with other Authors, and in T-tubule with irregular spokelike extensions penetrating toward the center of the cell. Moreover, our data showed that all tested proteins colocalize between each other.
- Intercalated disk
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Pathology and Forensic Medicine