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J Gen Physiol. 2019 Jun 3;151(6):771-785. doi: 10.1085/jgp.201812269. Epub 2019 Apr 18.

Phase 1 repolarization rate defines Ca2+ dynamics and contractility on intact mouse hearts.

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Instituto de Biofísica Carlos Chagas Filho, Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.
Centro de Investigaciones Cardiovasculares, Universidad Nacional de La Plata, La Plata, Argentina.
Department of Bioengineering, School of Engineering, University of California, Merced, CA


In the heart, Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels triggers Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum. In most mammals, this influx occurs during the ventricular action potential (AP) plateau phase 2. However, in murine models, the influx through L-type Ca2+ channels happens in early repolarizing phase 1. The aim of this work is to assess if changes in the open probability of 4-aminopyridine (4-AP)-sensitive Kv channels defining the outward K+ current during phase 1 can modulate Ca2+ currents, Ca2+ transients, and systolic pressure during the cardiac cycle in intact perfused beating hearts. Pulsed local-field fluorescence microscopy and loose-patch photolysis were used to test the hypothesis that a decrease in a transient K+ current (Ito) will enhance Ca2+ influx and promote a larger Ca2+ transient. Simultaneous recordings of Ca2+ transients and APs by pulsed local-field fluorescence microscopy and loose-patch photolysis showed that a reduction in the phase 1 repolarization rate increases the amplitude of Ca2+ transients due to an increase in Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels. Moreover, 4-AP induced an increase in the time required for AP to reach 30% repolarization, and the amplitude of Ca2+ transients was larger in epicardium than endocardium. On the other hand, the activation of Ito with NS5806 resulted in a reduction of Ca2+ current amplitude that led to a reduction of the amplitude of Ca2+ transients. Finally, the 4-AP effect on AP phase 1 was significantly smaller when the L-type Ca2+ current was partially blocked with nifedipine, indicating that the phase 1 rate of repolarization is defined by the competition between an outward K+ current and an inward Ca2+ current.

[Available on 2019-12-03]

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