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Circ Res. 1987 Aug;61(2):271-9.

Electrical uncoupling and increase of extracellular resistance after induction of ischemia in isolated, arterially perfused rabbit papillary muscle.


Extracellular and intracellular longitudinal resistances (ro and ri), transmembrane potentials, and conduction velocity were determined in arterially blood-perfused rabbit papillary muscles. Cable analysis was made possible by placing the muscle in a H2O-saturated gaseous environment, which acted as an electrical insulator. Ischemia was produced by exchanging the O2 in the atmosphere by N2 (94% N2-6% CO2) in addition to arresting coronary flow. The first 10-15 minutes of ischemia were characterized by an increase in ro, while ri remained constant. The early part of the increase in ro coincided with the drop in perfusion pressure and was probably due to the diminution of intravascular volume. Rapid electrical uncoupling, reflected by an increase in ri (threefold within 5 minutes), occurred thereafter. The dissociation between the early increase in ro and the delayed increase in ri produced an initial increase in the ratio ro:ri, which subsequently decreased. The decrease in conduction velocity was less than observed in intact hearts with ischemia. This difference is explained by the relatively small changes in resting membrane potential and action potential amplitude in the preparation used. Our results suggest that in the early, reversible phase of ischemia, the increase in ro contributes to a small but significant extent to the slowing of conduction. After 15-20 minutes, the rapid cellular uncoupling, which was most likely coincident with breakdown of cellular homeostasis, may contribute to the occurrence of arrhythmias during this phase of ischemia. Moreover, the early change in the ratio ro:ri will influence the amplitude of the extracellular electrograms following coronary occlusion (TQ-segment and ST-segment shifts).

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