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Am J Physiol. 1999 Oct;277(4 Pt 2):H1403-9.

Molecular and functional distributions of chloride conductances in rabbit ventricle.

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  • 1Section of Cardiovascular Biology, Department of Biochemistry, University of Cambridge, Cambridge CB2 1QW, United Kingdom.


The regulation of cardiac electrical activity is critically dependent on the distribution of ion channels in the heart. For most ion channels, however, the patterns of distribution and what regulates these patterns are not well characterized. The most likely candidates for the genes that encode the cAMP- and swelling-activated chloride conductances in the heart are an alternatively spliced variant of CFTR and ClC-3, respectively. In this study we have 1) measured the density of CFTR and ClC-3 mRNA levels across the left ventricular free wall (LVFW) of the rabbit heart using in situ hybridization and 2) measured the corresponding current density of cAMP- and swelling-activated chloride channels in myocytes isolated from subepicardial, midmyocardial, and subendocardial regions of the LVFW. There was a highly significant gradient in the whole cell slope conductance of cAMP-activated chloride currents; normalized slope conductance at 0 mV was 15.7 +/- 1.8 pS/pF (n = 9) in subepicardial myocytes, 7.8 +/- 1.5 pS/pF (n = 11) in midmyocardial myocytes, and 4.9 +/- 1.1 pS/pF (n = 9) in subendocardial myocytes. The level of CFTR mRNA was closely correlated with the density of cAMP-activated chloride conductances in different regions of the heart, with the level of CFTR mRNA being three times higher in the subepicardium than in the subendocardium. The whole cell slope conductance of swelling-activated chloride channel activity, measured 3-5 min after the commencement of cell swelling, was higher in myocytes isolated from the subepicardium than in myocytes isolated from the midmyocardium or subendocardium. In contrast, there was a uniform expression of ClC-3 mRNA across the LVFW of the rabbit heart. These results suggest that the control of gene expression is an important contributor in regulating the distribution of cAMP-activated chloride channels in the rabbit heart but that it may be less important for the swelling-activated chloride channels.

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