Myofilament length dependent activation

Pieter P. de Tombe, Ryan D. Mateja, Kittipong Tachampa, Younss Ait Mou, Gerrie P. Farman, Thomas C. Irving

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

146 Citations (Scopus)


The Frank-Starling law of the heart describes the interrelationship between end-diastolic volume and cardiac ejection volume, a regulatory system that operates on a beat-to-beat basis. The main cellular mechanism that underlies this phenomenon is an increase in the responsiveness of cardiac myofilaments to activating Ca2+ ions at a longer sarcomere length, commonly referred to as myofilament length-dependent activation. This review focuses on what molecular mechanisms may underlie myofilament length dependency. Specifically, the roles of inter-filament spacing, thick and thin filament based regulation, as well as sarcomeric regulatory proteins are discussed. Although the "Frank-Starling law of the heart" constitutes a fundamental cardiac property that has been appreciated for well over a century, it is still not known in muscle how the contractile apparatus transduces the information concerning sarcomere length to modulate ventricular pressure development.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)851-858
Number of pages8
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 1 May 2010
Externally publishedYes



  • Frank-Starling Law of The Heart
  • Length-Tension Relationship
  • Regulation
  • Sarcomere length

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Molecular Biology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

Cite this

de Tombe, P. P., Mateja, R. D., Tachampa, K., Mou, Y. A., Farman, G. P., & Irving, T. C. (2010). Myofilament length dependent activation. Journal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology, 48(5), 851-858.