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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Roles of the creatine kinase system and myoglobin in maintaining energetic state in the working heart

Fan Wu and Daniel A Beard*

Author Affiliations

Biotechnology and Bioengineering Center, Department of Physiology, Medical College of Wisconsin, Milwaukee, Wisconsin 53226, USA

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BMC Systems Biology 2009, 3:22  doi:10.1186/1752-0509-3-22

Published: 19 February 2009



The heart is capable of maintaining contractile function despite a transient decrease in blood flow and increase in cardiac ATP demand during systole. This study analyzes a previously developed model of cardiac energetics and oxygen transport to understand the roles of the creatine kinase system and myoglobin in maintaining the ATP hydrolysis potential during beat-to-beat transient changes in blood flow and ATP hydrolysis rate.


The theoretical investigation demonstrates that elimination of myoglobin only slightly increases the predicted range of oscillation of cardiac oxygenation level during beat-to-beat transients in blood flow and ATP utilization. In silico elimination of myoglobin has almost no impact on the cytoplasmic ATP hydrolysis potential (ΔGATPase). In contrast, disabling the creatine kinase system results in considerable oscillations of cytoplasmic ADP and ATP levels and seriously deteriorates the stability of ΔGATPase in the beating heart.


The CK system stabilizes ΔGATPase by both buffering ATP and ADP concentrations and enhancing the feedback signal of inorganic phosphate in regulating mitochondrial oxidative phosphorylation.