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J Mol Cell Cardiol. 2013 Aug;61:142-52. doi: 10.1016/j.yjmcc.2013.03.011. Epub 2013 Mar 24.

Impaired Na⁺-dependent regulation of acetylcholine-activated inward-rectifier K⁺ current modulates action potential rate dependence in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.

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Institute of Pharmacology, Faculty of Medicine, University Duisburg-Essen, 45122 Essen, Germany.


Shortened action-potential duration (APD) and blunted APD rate adaptation are hallmarks of chronic atrial fibrillation (cAF). Basal and muscarinic (M)-receptor-activated inward-rectifier K(+) currents (IK1 and IK,ACh, respectively) contribute to regulation of human atrial APD and are subject to cAF-dependent remodeling. Intracellular Na(+) ([Na(+)]i) enhances IK,ACh in experimental models but the effect of [Na(+)]i-dependent regulation of inward-rectifier K(+) currents on APD in human atrial myocytes is currently unknown. Here, we report a [Na(+)]i-dependent inhibition of outward IK1 in atrial myocytes from sinus rhythm (SR) or cAF patients. In contrast, IK,ACh activated by carbachol, a non-selective M-receptor agonist, increased with elevation of [Na(+)]i in SR. This [Na(+)]i-dependent IK,ACh regulation was absent in cAF. Including [Na(+)]i dependence of IK1 and IK,ACh in a recent computational model of the human atrial myocyte revealed that [Na(+)]i accumulation at fast rates inhibits IK1 and blunts physiological APD rate dependence in both groups. [Na(+)]i-dependent IK,ACh augmentation at fast rates increased APD rate dependence in SR, but not in cAF. These results identify impaired Na(+)-sensitivity of IK,ACh as one potential mechanism contributing to the blunted APD rate dependence in patients with cAF. This article is part of a Special Issue entitled "Na(+) Regulation in Cardiac Myocytes".


AF; AP; AP duration; APD; Action potential; Atrial fibrillation; CCh; I(Ca,L); I(K,ACh); I(K1); I(NaK); Inward-rectifier K(+) current; L-type Ca(2+) current; Na(+); Na(+)-K(+) ATPase current; PIP(2); SR; [Na(+)](i); action potential; atrial fibrillation; basal inward-rectifier K(+) current; cAF; carbachol; chronic AF; intracellular Na(+); muscarinic-receptor-activated K(+) current; phosphatidylinositol-4,5-bisphosphate; sinus rhythm

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