Skip to main content
Open Access Publications from the University of California

UC Davis

UC Davis Previously Published Works bannerUC Davis

Intracellular Na+ Modulates Pacemaking Activity in Murine Sinoatrial Node Myocytes: An In Silico Analysis


Background: The mechanisms underlying dysfunction in the sinoatrial node (SAN), the heart's primary pacemaker, are incompletely understood. Electrical and Ca2+-handling remodeling have been implicated in SAN dysfunction associated with heart failure, aging, and diabetes. Cardiomyocyte [Na+]i is also elevated in these diseases, where it contributes to arrhythmogenesis. Here, we sought to investigate the largely unexplored role of Na+ homeostasis in SAN pacemaking and test whether [Na+]i dysregulation may contribute to SAN dysfunction. Methods: We developed a dataset-specific computational model of the murine SAN myocyte and simulated alterations in the major processes of Na+ entry (Na+/Ca2+ exchanger, NCX) and removal (Na+/K+ ATPase, NKA). Results: We found that changes in intracellular Na+ homeostatic processes dynamically regulate SAN electrophysiology. Mild reductions in NKA and NCX function increase myocyte firing rate, whereas a stronger reduction causes bursting activity and loss of automaticity. These pathologic phenotypes mimic those observed experimentally in NCX- and ankyrin-B-deficient mice due to altered feedback between the Ca2+ and membrane potential clocks underlying SAN firing. Conclusions: Our study generates new testable predictions and insight linking Na+ homeostasis to Ca2+ handling and membrane potential dynamics in SAN myocytes that may advance our understanding of SAN (dys)function.

Many UC-authored scholarly publications are freely available on this site because of the UC's open access policies. Let us know how this access is important for you.

Main Content
For improved accessibility of PDF content, download the file to your device.
Current View