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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2008 Nov;45(5):617-24. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2008.08.001. Epub 2008 Aug 8.

The Purkinje cell; 2008 style.

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Department of Pharmacology, Center for Molecular Therapeutics, Columbia University, New York, NY, USA.


Cardiac Purkinje fibers, due to their unique anatomical location, cell structure and electrophysiologic characteristics, play an important role in cardiac conduction and arrhythmogenesis. Purkinje cell action potentials are longer than their ventricular counterpart, and display two levels of resting potential. Purkinje cells provide for rapid propagation of the cardiac impulse to ventricular cells and have pacemaker and triggered activity, which differs from ventricular cells. Additionally, a unique intracellular Ca2+ release coordination has been revealed recently for the normal Purkinje cell. However, since the isolation of single Purkinje cells is difficult, particularly in small animals, research using Purkinje cells has been restricted. This review concentrates on comparison of Purkinje and ventricular cells in the morphology of the action potential, ionic channel function and molecular determinants by summarizing our present day knowledge of Purkinje cells.

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