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SCI-VIS IFC-CNR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY SCI-VIS IFC-CNR / SCIENCE PHOTO LIBRARY
Animation of incomplete calcium ion reuptake due to abnormal sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) in a heart cell affected by dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM). Impaired function of the SERCA calcium ion pumps (spikes in foreground) is a characteristic molecular defect in DCM heart cells. The inefficiency of the SERCA means that calcium ions (white dots) are not fully cleared from the intracellular space, preventing a full relaxation of the heart cells at diastole. This is evident in the blue ECG trace (top right) which shows an incomplete relaxation phase.
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