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Chaos. 2009 Sep;19(3):037114. doi: 10.1063/1.3207814.

Transition of spiral calcium waves between multiple stable patterns can be triggered by a single calcium spark in a fire-diffuse-fire model.

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State Key Laboratory of Biomembrane and Membrane Biotechnology, College of Life Sciences, Peking University, Beijing, China.


Spiral patterns have been found in various nonequilibrium systems. The Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release system in single cardiac cells is unique for highly discrete reaction elements, each giving rise to a Ca(2+) spark upon excitation. We imaged the spiral Ca(2+) waves in isolated cardiac cells and numerically studied the effect of system excitability on spiral patterns using a two-dimensional fire-diffuse-fire model. We found that under certain conditions, the system was able to display multiple stable patterns of spiral waves, each exhibiting different periods and distinct routines of spiral tips. Transition between these different patterns could be triggered by an internal fluctuation in the form of a single Ca(2+) spark.

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