Exposure to circulating cobalt (Co2+) in patients with metal-on-metal orthopaedic hip implants has been linked to cardiotoxicity but the underlying mechanism(s) remain undefined. The aim of the current study was to examine the effects of Co2+ on the heart in vivo and specifically on cardiac fibroblasts in vitro. Adult male rats were treated with CoCl2 (1 mg/kg) for either 7 days or 28 days. Inductively coupled plasma mass spectrometry (ICP-MS) was used to measure Co2+uptake into various organs of the body. Co2+ accumulated in the heart over time with significant levels evident after only 7 days of treatment. There was no evidence of cardiac remodelling following Co2+ treatment as assessed by heart weight:body weight and left ventricular weight:body weight. However, a decrease in fractional shortening, as measured using echocardiography, was observed after 28 days of Co2+ treatment. This was accompanied by increased protein expression of the ion transient receptor potential (TRP) channels TRPC6 and TRPM7 as assessed by quantitative immunoblotting of whole cardiac homogenates. Uptake of Co2+ specifically into rat cardiac fibroblasts was measured over 72 h and was shown to dramatically increase with increasing concentrations of applied CoCl2. Expression levels of TRPC6 and TRPM7 proteins were both significantly elevated in these cells following Co2+treatment. In conclusion, Co2+ rapidly accumulates to significant levels in the heart causing compromised contractility in the absence of any overt cardiac remodelling. TRPC6 and TRPM7 expression levels are significantly altered in the heart following Co2+ treatment and this may contribute to the Co2+-induced cardiotoxicity observed over time.
- cardiac fibroblast
- transient receptor potential (TRP) channels
- divalent metal transporter channel 1 (DMT1)