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01.03.2012 | Original Contribution | Ausgabe 2/2012

Basic Research in Cardiology 2/2012

Proarrhythmia in a non-failing murine model of cardiac-specific Na+/Ca2+ exchanger overexpression: whole heart and cellular mechanisms

Zeitschrift:
Basic Research in Cardiology > Ausgabe 2/2012
Autoren:
Christian Pott, Adam Muszynski, Matthias Ruhe, N. Bögeholz, Jan S. Schulte, Peter Milberg, Gerold Mönnig, Larissa Fabritz, Joshua I. Goldhaber, Günter Breithardt, Wilhelm Schmitz, Kenneth D. Philipson, Lars Eckardt, Paulus Kirchhof, Frank U. Müller

Abstract

The cardiac Na+/Ca2+ exchanger (NCX) generates an inward electrical current during SR-Ca2+ release, thus possibly promoting afterdepolarizations of the action potential (AP). We used transgenic mice 12.5 weeks or younger with cardiomyocyte-directed overexpression of NCX (NCX-Tg) to study the proarrhythmic potential and mechanisms of enhanced NCX activity. NCX-Tg exhibited normal echocardiographic left ventricular function and heart/body weight ratio, while the QT interval was prolonged in surface ECG recordings. Langendorff-perfused NCX-Tg, but not wild-type (WT) hearts, developed ventricular tachycardia. APs and ionic currents were measured in isolated cardiomyocytes. Cell capacitance was unaltered between groups. APs were prolonged in NCX-Tg versus WT myocytes along with voltage-activated K+ currents (Kv) not being reduced but even increased in amplitude. During abrupt changes in pacing cycle length, early afterdepolarizations (EADs) were frequently recorded in NCX-Tg but not in WT myocytes. Next to EADs, delayed afterdepolarizations (DAD) triggering spontaneous APs (sAPs) occurred in NCX-Tg but not in WT myocytes. To test whether sAPs were associated with spontaneous Ca2+ release (sCR), Ca2+ transients were recorded. Despite the absence of sAPs in WT, sCR was observed in myocytes of both genotypes suggesting a facilitated translation of sCR into DADs in NCX-Tg. Moreover, sCR was more frequent in NCX-Tg as compared to WT. Myocardial protein levels of Ca2+-handling proteins were not different between groups except the ryanodine receptor (RyR), which was increased in NCX-Tg versus WT. We conclude that NCX overexpression is proarrhythmic in a non-failing environment even in the absence of reduced KV. The underlying mechanisms are: (1) occurrence of EADs due to delayed repolarization; (2) facilitated translation from sCR into DADs; (3) proneness to sCR possibly caused by altered Ca2+ handling and/or increased RyR expression.

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