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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2014 Jul 15;307(2):H199-206. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00387.2012. Epub 2014 May 23.

Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II increases the susceptibility to the arrhythmogenic action potential alternans in spontaneously hypertensive rats.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Japan


Action potential duration alternans (APD-ALT), defined as long-short-long repetitive pattern of APD, potentially leads to lethal ventricular arrhythmia. However, the mechanisms of APD-ALT in the arrhythmogenesis of cardiac hypertrophy remain undetermined. Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII) is known to modulate the function of cardiac sarcoplasmic reticulum and play an important role in Ca(2+) cycling. We thus aimed to determine the role of CaMKII in the increased susceptibility to APD-ALT and arrhythmogenesis in the hypertrophied heart. APD was measured by high-resolution optical mapping in left ventricular (LV) anterior wall from normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY; n = 10) and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR; n = 10) during rapid ventricular pacing. APD-ALT was evoked at significantly lower pacing rate in SHR compared with WKY (382 ± 43 vs. 465 ± 45 beats/min, P < 0.01). These changes in APD-ALT in SHR were completely reversed by KN-93 (1 μmol/l; n = 5), an inhibitor of CaMKII, but not its inactive analog, KN-92 (1 μmol/l; n = 5). The magnitude of APD-ALT was also significantly greater in SHR than WKY and was completely normalized by KN-93. Ventricular fibrillation (VF) was induced by rapid pacing more frequently in SHR than in WKY (60 vs. 10%; P < 0.05), which was also abolished by KN-93 (0%, P < 0.05). Western blot analyses indicated that the CaMKII autophosphorylation at Thr287 was significantly increased in SHR compared with WKY. The increased susceptibility to APD-ALT and VF during rapid pacing in hypertrophied heart was prevented by KN-93. CaMKII could be an important mechanism of arrhythmogenesis in cardiac hypertrophy.


APD alternans; CaMKII; cardiac hypertrophy

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