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Prog Biophys Mol Biol. 2016 Jul;121(2):142-56. doi: 10.1016/j.pbiomolbio.2016.05.004. Epub 2016 May 19.

Transgenic rabbit models to investigate the cardiac ion channel disease long QT syndrome.

Author information

1
Department of Cardiology and Angiology I, University Heart Center Freiburg, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Germany; Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany.
2
Cardiovascular Research Center, Division of Cardiology, Rhode Island Hospital, Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Providence, RI, USA.
3
Department of Cardiology and Angiology I, University Heart Center Freiburg, Medical Center - University of Freiburg, Germany; Faculty of Medicine, University of Freiburg, Germany. Electronic address: katja.odening@uniklinik-freiburg.de.

Abstract

Long QT syndrome (LQTS) is a rare inherited channelopathy caused mainly by different mutations in genes encoding for cardiac K(+) or Na(+) channels, but can also be caused by commonly used ion-channel-blocking and QT-prolonging drugs, thus affecting a much larger population. To develop novel diagnostic and therapeutic strategies to improve the clinical management of these patients, a thorough understanding of the pathophysiological mechanisms of arrhythmogenesis and potential pharmacological targets is needed. Drug-induced and genetic animal models of various species have been generated and have been instrumental for identifying pro-arrhythmic triggers and important characteristics of the arrhythmogenic substrate in LQTS. However, due to species differences in features of cardiac electrical function, these different models do not entirely recapitulate all aspects of the human disease. In this review, we summarize advantages and shortcomings of different drug-induced and genetically mediated LQTS animal models - focusing on mouse and rabbit models since these represent the most commonly used small animal models for LQTS that can be subjected to genetic manipulation. In particular, we highlight the different aspects of arrhythmogenic mechanisms, pro-arrhythmic triggering factors, anti-arrhythmic agents, and electro-mechanical dysfunction investigated in transgenic LQTS rabbit models and their translational application for the clinical management of LQTS patients in detail. Transgenic LQTS rabbits have been instrumental to increase our understanding of the role of spatial and temporal dispersion of repolarization to provide an arrhythmogenic substrate, genotype-differences in the mechanisms for early afterdepolarization formation and arrhythmia maintenance, mechanisms of hormonal modification of arrhythmogenesis and regional heterogeneities in electro-mechanical dysfunction in LQTS.

KEYWORDS:

Cardiac repolarization; Long QT syndrome; Transgenic animal model; Ventricular arrhythmia

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