The Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) is the main Ca2+ extrusion mechanism of the cardiac myocyte and thus is crucial for maintaining Ca2+ homeostasis. It is involved in the regulation of several parameters of cardiac excitation contraction coupling, such as cytosolic Ca2+ concentration, repolarization and contractility. Increased NCX activity has been identified as a mechanism promoting heart failure, cardiac ischemia and arrhythmia. Transgenic mice as well as pharmacological interventions have been used to support the idea of using NCX inhibition as a future pharmacological strategy to treat cardiovascular disease.
Keywords: Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, arrhythmia, ischemia, heart failure, transgenic mice, Ca2+ handling, NCX, genetic knockout, hypertension, cardiovascular disease