Control of Whole Heart Geometry by Intramyocardial Mechano-Feedback: A Model Study

Theo Arts*, Joost Lumens, Wilco Kroon, Tammo Delhaas

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Geometry of the heart adapts to mechanical load, imposed by pressures and volumes of the cavities. We regarded preservation of cardiac geometry as a homeostatic control system. The control loop was simulated by a chain of models, starting with geometry of the cardiac walls, sequentially simulating circulation hemodynamics, myofiber stress and strain in the walls, transfer of mechano-sensed signals to structural changes of the myocardium, and finalized by calculation of resulting changes in cardiac wall geometry. Instead of modeling detailed mechano-transductive pathways and their interconnections, we used principles of control theory to find optimal transfer functions, representing the overall biological responses to mechanical signals. As biological responses we regarded tissue mass, extent of contractile myocyte structure and extent of the extra-cellular matrix. Mechano-structural stimulus-response characteristics were considered to be the same for atrial and ventricular tissue. Simulation of adaptation to self-generated hemodynamic load rendered physiologic geometry of all cardiac cavities automatically. Adaptation of geometry to chronic hypertension and volume load appeared also physiologic. Different combinations of mechano-sensors satisfied the condition that control of geometry is stable. Thus, we expect that for various species, evolution may have selected different solutions for mechano-adaptation.
Original languageEnglish
JournalPLoS Computational Biology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2012

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