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Front Physiol. 2012 Jul 5;3:244. doi: 10.3389/fphys.2012.00244. eCollection 2012.

Toward an integrative computational model of the Guinea pig cardiac myocyte.

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1
Department of Biomedical Engineering, Institute for Computational Medicine, The Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine and Whiting School of Engineering Baltimore, MD, USA.

Abstract

The local control theory of excitation-contraction (EC) coupling asserts that regulation of calcium (Ca(2+)) release occurs at the nanodomain level, where openings of single L-type Ca(2+) channels (LCCs) trigger openings of small clusters of ryanodine receptors (RyRs) co-localized within the dyad. A consequence of local control is that the whole-cell Ca(2+) transient is a smooth continuous function of influx of Ca(2+) through LCCs. While this so-called graded release property has been known for some time, its functional importance to the integrated behavior of the cardiac ventricular myocyte has not been fully appreciated. We previously formulated a biophysically based model, in which LCCs and RyRs interact via a coarse-grained representation of the dyadic space. The model captures key features of local control using a low-dimensional system of ordinary differential equations. Voltage-dependent gain and graded Ca(2+) release are emergent properties of this model by virtue of the fact that model formulation is closely based on the sub-cellular basis of local control. In this current work, we have incorporated this graded release model into a prior model of guinea pig ventricular myocyte electrophysiology, metabolism, and isometric force production. The resulting integrative model predicts the experimentally observed causal relationship between action potential (AP) shape and timing of Ca(2+) and force transients, a relationship that is not explained by models lacking the graded release property. Model results suggest that even relatively subtle changes in AP morphology that may result, for example, from remodeling of membrane transporter expression in disease or spatial variation in cell properties, may have major impact on the temporal waveform of Ca(2+) transients, thus influencing tissue level electromechanical function.

KEYWORDS:

calcium cycling; calcium-induced calcium-release; cardiac myocyte; computational model; excitation-contraction coupling; mitochondrial energetics

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