John Wikswo
Faculty Member
Last active: 2/19/2015

Regional increase of extracellular potassium leads to electrical instability and reentry occurrence through the spatial heterogeneity of APD restitution.

Sidorov VY, Uzelac I, Wikswo JP
Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol. 2011 301 (1): H209-20

PMID: 21536842 · PMCID: PMC3129923 · DOI:10.1152/ajpheart.01141.2010

The heterogeneities of electrophysiological properties of cardiac tissue are the main factors that control both arrhythmia induction and maintenance. Although the local increase of extracellular potassium ([K(+)](o)) due to coronary occlusion is a well-established metabolic response to acute ischemia, the role of local [K(+)](o) heterogeneity in phase 1a arrhythmias has yet to be determined. In this work, we created local [K(+)](o) heterogeneity and investigated its role in fast pacing response and arrhythmia induction. The left marginal vein of a Langendorff-perfused rabbit heart was cannulated and perfused separately with solutions containing 4, 6, 8, 10, and 12 mM of K(+). The fluorescence dye was utilized to map the voltage distribution. We tested stimulation rates, starting from 400 ms down to 120 ms, with steps of 5-50 ms. We found that local [K(+)](o) heterogeneity causes action potential (AP) alternans, 2:1 conduction block, and wave breaks. The effect of [K(+)](o) heterogeneity on electrical stability and vulnerability to arrhythmia induction was largest during regional perfusion with 10 mM of K(+). We detected three concurrent dynamics: normally propagating activation when excitation waves spread over tissue perfused with normal K(+), alternating 2:2 rhythm near the border of [K(+)](o) heterogeneity, and 2:1 aperiodicity when propagation was within the high [K(+)](o) area. [K(+)](o) elevation changed the AP duration (APD) restitution and shifted the restitution curve toward longer diastolic intervals and shorter APD. We conclude that spatial heterogeneity of the APD restitution, created with regional elevation of [K(+)](o), can lead to AP instability, 2:1 block, and reentry induction.

MeSH Terms (22)

Action Potentials Anesthetics, Local Animals Arrhythmias, Cardiac Cardiac Pacing, Artificial Coronary Circulation Coronary Vessels Data Interpretation, Statistical Electric Stimulation Electrophysiological Phenomena Extracellular Space Female Fluorescent Dyes Heart Conduction System Heart Rate In Vitro Techniques Kinetics Male Myocardial Ischemia Myocardium Potassium Rabbits

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