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Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2012 Jan 1;302(1):H262-9. doi: 10.1152/ajpheart.00711.2011. Epub 2011 Oct 28.

The role of dynamic instability and wavelength in arrhythmia maintenance as revealed by panoramic imaging with blebbistatin vs. 2,3-butanedione monoxime.

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Department of Biomedical Engineering, Washington University, St. Louis, Missouri 63130-4899, USA.


Unlike other excitation-contraction uncouplers, blebbistatin has few electrophysiological side effects and has gained increasing acceptance as an excitation-contraction uncoupler in optical mapping experiments. However, the possible role of blebbistatin in ventricular arrhythmia has hitherto been unknown. Furthermore, experiments with blebbistatin and 2,3-butanedione monoxime (BDM) offer an opportunity to assess the contribution of dynamic instability and wavelength of impulse propagation to the induction and maintenance of ventricular arrhythmia. Recordings of monophasic action potentials were used to assess effects of blebbistatin in Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts (n = 5). Additionally, panoramic optical mapping experiments were conducted in rabbit hearts (n = 7) that were sequentially perfused with BDM, then washed out, and subsequently perfused with blebbistatin. The susceptibility to arrhythmia was investigated using a shock-on-T protocol. We found that 1) application of blebbistatin did not change action potential duration (APD) restitution; 2) in contrast to blebbistatin, BDM flattened APD restitution curve and reduced the wavelength; and 3) incidence of sustained arrhythmia was much lower under blebbistatin than under BDM (2/123 vs. 23/99). While arrhythmias under BDM were able to stabilize, the arrhythmias under blebbistatin were unstable and terminated spontaneously. In conclusion, the lower susceptibility to arrhythmia under blebbistatin than under BDM indicates that blebbistatin has less effects on arrhythmia dynamics. A steep restitution slope under blebbistatin is associated with higher dynamic instability, manifested by the higher incidence of not only wave breaks but also wave extinctions. This relatively high dynamic instability leads to the self-termination of arrhythmia because of the sufficiently long wavelength under blebbistatin.

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