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Biophys J. 2014 Feb 18;106(4):925-31. doi: 10.1016/j.bpj.2013.11.1117.

Microdomain effects on transverse cardiac propagation.

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Department of Mathematics, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California.
Department of Mathematics, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, Utah. Electronic address:


The effect of gap junctional coupling, sodium ion channel distribution, and extracellular conductivity on transverse conduction in cardiac tissue is explored using a microdomain model that incorporates aspects of the inhomogeneous cellular structure. The propagation velocities found in our model are compared to those in the classic bidomain model and indicate a strong ephaptic microdomain contribution to conduction depending on the parameter regime. We show that ephaptic effects can be quite significant in the junctional spaces between cells, and that the cell activation sequence is modified substantially by these effects. Further, we find that transverse propagation can be maintained by ephaptic effects, even in the absence of gap junctional coupling. The mechanism by which this occurs is found to be cablelike in that the junctional regions act like inverted cables. Our results provide insight into several recent experimental studies that indirectly indicate a mode of action potential propagation that does not rely exclusively on gap junctions.

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