Heart failure (HF) with diastolic dysfunction has been attributed to increased myocardial stiffness that limits proper filling of the ventricle. Altered cross-bridge interaction may significantly contribute to high diastolic stiffness, but this has not been shown thus far. Cross-bridge interactions are dependent on cytosolic [Ca2+] and the regeneration of ATP from ADP. Depletion of myocardial energy reserve is a hallmark of HF leading to ADP accumulation and disturbed Ca2+ handling. Here, we investigated if ADP elevation in concert with increased diastolic [Ca2+] promotes diastolic cross-bridge formation and force generation and thereby increases diastolic stiffness. ADP dose-dependently increased force production in the absence of Ca2+ in membrane-permeabilized cardiomyocytes from human hearts. Moreover, physiological levels of ADP increased actomyosin force generation in the presence of Ca2+ both in human and rat membrane-permeabilized cardiomyocytes. Diastolic stress measured at physiological lattice spacing and 37°C in the presence of pathological levels of ADP and diastolic [Ca2+] revealed a 76 ± 1% contribution of cross-bridge interaction to total diastolic stress in rat membrane-permeabilized cardiomyocytes. Inhibition of creatine kinase (CK), which increases cytosolic ADP, in enzyme-isolated intact rat cardiomyocytes impaired diastolic re-lengthening associated with diastolic Ca2+ overload. In isolated Langendorff-perfused rat hearts, CK inhibition increased ventricular stiffness only in the presence of diastolic [Ca2+]. We propose that elevations of intracellular ADP in specific types of cardiac disease, including those where myocardial energy reserve is limited, contribute to diastolic dysfunction by recruiting cross-bridges, even at low Ca2+, and thereby increase myocardial stiffness.
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