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Calreticulin in the Heart: From Embryological Development to Cardiac Pathology.

[ Vol. 16 , Issue. 1 ]


D. Martinho-Dias, A. Leite-Moreira and P. Castro-Chaves   Pages 12 - 22 ( 11 )


Background: Calreticulin is a Ca2+-binding chaperone in the endoplasmic reticulum (ER) which is crucial to the correct embryological development of the heart in mice. Altered expression levels in the adult were correlated with several cardiac pathologies such as cardiac hypertrophy and dilated cardiomyopathy.

Aim: In this review, we aim to describe the role of calreticulin in the embryological development of the heart in mice and to clarify the relationship between the different cardiac pathologies and altered expression levels of calreticulin in the adult heart.

Conclusion: There is an ER crucial to embryogenesis in cardiomyocytes besides SR. Certain stimuli may induce reactivation of the transcription pattern present during embryogenesis, leading to overexpression of calreticulin in the heart, altering numerous signaling pathways and subsequently inducing pathology. Normalization of these transcriptional disorders holds promise in the treatment of multiple cardiac diseases.


Calreticulin, endoplasmic reticulum, fetal lethality, hypertrophy, ischemia-reperfusion, dilated cardiomyopathy, arrhythmia, heart block.


Physiology and Cardiothoracic Surgery Department, Faculty of Medicine, University of Porto, 4200 Porto, Portugal

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