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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Calcium-voltage coupling in the genesis of early and delayed afterdepolarizations in cardiac myocytes

  • Author(s): Song, Z
  • Ko, CY
  • Nivala, M
  • Weiss, JN
  • Qu, Z
  • et al.

© 2015 Biophysical Society. Early afterdepolarizations (EADs) and delayed afterdepolarizations (DADs) are voltage oscillations known to cause cardiac arrhythmias. EADs are mainly driven by voltage oscillations in the repolarizing phase of the action potential (AP), while DADs are driven by spontaneous calcium (Ca) release during diastole. Because voltage and Ca are bidirectionally coupled, they modulate each other's behaviors, and new AP and Ca cycling dynamics can emerge from this coupling. In this study, we performed computer simulations using an AP model with detailed spatiotemporal Ca cycling incorporating stochastic openings of Ca channels and ryanodine receptors to investigate the effects of Ca-voltage coupling on EAD and DAD dynamics. Simulations were complemented by experiments in mouse ventricular myocytes. We show that: 1) alteration of the Ca transient due to increased ryanodine receptor leakiness and/or sarco/endoplasmic reticulum Ca ATPase activity can either promote or suppress EADs due to the complex effects of Ca on ionic current properties; 2) spontaneous Ca waves also exhibit complex effects on EADs, but cannot induce EADs of significant amplitude without the participation of ICa,L; 3) lengthening AP duration and the occurrence of EADs promote DADs by increasing intracellular Ca loading, and two mechanisms of DADs are identified, i.e., Ca-wave-dependent and Ca-wave-independent; and 4) Ca-voltage coupling promotes complex EAD patterns such as EAD alternans that are not observed for solely voltage-driven EADs. In conclusion, Ca-voltage coupling combined with the nonlinear dynamical behaviors of voltage and Ca cycling play a key role in generating complex EAD and DAD dynamics observed experimentally in cardiac myocytes, whose mechanisms are complex but analyzable.

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