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Biophys J. 2010 May 19;98(10):2091-101. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2010.02.011.

Mechanisms underlying the antifibrillatory action of hyperkalemia in Guinea pig hearts.

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1
Center for Arrhythmia Research, University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, USA. sanpandi@med.umich.edu

Abstract

Hyperkalemia increases the organization of ventricular fibrillation (VF) and may also terminate it by mechanisms that remain unclear. We previously showed that the left-to-right heterogeneity of excitation and wave fragmentation present in fibrillating guinea pig hearts is mediated by chamber-specific outward conductance differences in the inward rectifier potassium current (I(K1)). We hypothesized that hyperkalemia-mediated depolarization of the reversal potential of I(K1) (E(K1)) would reduce excitability and thereby reduce VF excitation frequencies and left-to-right heterogeneity. We induced VF in Langendroff-perfused guinea pig hearts and increased the extracellular K(+) concentration ([K(+)](o)) from control (4 mM) to 7 mM (n = 5) or 10 mM (n = 7). Optical mapping enabled spatial characterization of excitation dominant frequencies (DFs) and wavebreaks, and identification of sustained rotors (>4 cycles). During VF, hyperkalemia reduced the maximum DF of the left ventricle (LV) from 31.5 +/- 4.7 Hz (control) to 23.0 +/- 4.7 Hz (7.0 mM) or 19.5 +/- 3.6 Hz (10.0 mM; p < 0.006), the left-to-right DF gradient from 14.7 +/- 3.6 Hz (control) to 4.4 +/- 1.3 Hz (7 mM) and 3.2 +/- 1.4 Hz (10 mM), the number of DF domains, and the incidence of wavebreak in the LV and interventricular regions. During 10 mM [K(+)](o), the rotation period and core area of sustained rotors in the LV increased, and VF often terminated. Two-dimensional computer simulations mimicking experimental VF predicted that clamping E(K1) to normokalemic values during simulated hyperkalemia prevented all of the hyperkalemia-induced VF changes. During hyperkalemia, despite the shortening of the action potential duration, depolarization of E(K1) increased refractoriness, leading to a slowing of VF, which effectively superseded the influence of I(K1) conductance differences on VF organization. This reduced the left-to-right excitation gradients and heterogeneous wavebreak formation. Overall, these results provide, to our knowledge, the first direct mechanistic insight into the organization and/or termination of VF by hyperkalemia.

PMID:
20483316
PMCID:
PMC2872203
DOI:
10.1016/j.bpj.2010.02.011
[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article
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