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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2018 Aug 1;315(2):H262-H272. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00636.2017. Epub 2018 Apr 6.

Small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channel activation deteriorates hypoxic ventricular arrhythmias via CaMKII in cardiac hypertrophy.

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Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Hokkaido University Graduate School of Medicine, Sapporo, Hokkaido , Japan.
Department of Molecular Biology, Graduate School of Medicine, Hokkaido University, Sapporo, Hokkaido , Japan.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, National Hospital Organization Hokkaido Medical Center, Sapporo, Hokkaido , Japan.
Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, Kyusyu University Graduate School of Medicine, Fukuoka, Kyusyu, Japan.


The molecular and electrophysiological mechanisms of acute ischemic ventricular arrhythmias in hypertrophied hearts are not well known. We hypothesized that small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ (SK) channels are activated during hypoxia via the Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII)-dependent pathway. We used normotensive Wistar-Kyoto (WKY) rats and spontaneous hypertensive rats (SHRs) as a model of cardiac hypertrophy. The inhibitory effects of SK channels and ATP-sensitive K+ channels on electrophysiological changes and genesis of arrhythmias during simulated global hypoxia (GH) were evaluated. Hypoxia-induced abbreviation of action potential duration (APD) occurred earlier in ventricles from SHRs versus. WKY rats. Apamin, a SK channel blocker, prevented this abbreviation in SHRs in both the early and delayed phase of GH, whereas in WKY rats only the delayed phase was prevented. In contrast, SHRs were less sensitive to glibenclamide, a ATP-sensitive K+ channel blocker, which inhibited the APD abbreviation in both phases of GH in WKY rats. SK channel blockers (apamin and UCL-1684) reduced the incidence of hypoxia-induced sustained ventricular arrhythmias in SHRs but not in WKY rats. Among three SK channel isoforms, SK2 channels were directly coimmunoprecipitated with CaMKII phosphorylated at Thr286 (p-CaMKII). We conclude that activation of SK channels leads to the APD abbreviation and sustained ventricular arrhythmias during simulated hypoxia, especially in hypertrophied hearts. This mechanism may result from p-CaMKII-bound SK2 channels and reveal new molecular targets to prevent lethal ventricular arrhythmias during acute hypoxia in cardiac hypertrophy. NEW & NOTEWORTHY We now show a new pathophysiological role of small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels, which shorten the action potential duration and induce ventricular arrhythmias during hypoxia. We also demonstrate that small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels interact with phosphorylated Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II at Thr286 in hypertrophied hearts.


Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II; cardiac hypertrophy; myocardial hypoxia; small-conductance Ca2+-activated K+ channels; ventricular arrhythmia

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