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Hoffmann, R. A wiki for the life sciences where authorship matters. Nature Genetics (2008)

Effects of action potential duration on excitation-contraction coupling in rat ventricular myocytes. Action potential voltage-clamp measurements.

Although each of the fundamental processes involved in excitation-contraction coupling in mammalian heart has been identified, many quantitative details remain unclear. The initial goal of our experiments was to measure both the transmembrane Ca2+ current, which triggers contraction, and the Ca2+ extrusion due to Na(+)-Ca2+ exchange in a single ventricular myocyte. An action potential waveform was used as the command for the voltage-clamp circuit, and the membrane potential, membrane current, [Ca2+]i, and contraction (unloaded cell shortening) were monitored simultaneously. Ca(2+)-dependent membrane current during an action potential consists of two components: (1) Ca2+ influx through L-type Ca2+ channels (ICa-L) during the plateau of the action potential and (2) a slow inward tail current that develops during repolarization negative to approximately -25 mV and continues during diastole. This slow inward tail current can be abolished completely by replacement of extracellular Na+ with Li+, suggesting that it is due to electrogenic Na(+)-Ca2+ exchange. In agreement with this, the net charge movement corresponding to the inward component of the Ca(2+)-dependent current (ICa-L) was approximately twice that during the slow inward tail current, a finding that is predicted by a scheme in which the Ca2+ that enters during ICa is extruded during diastole by a 3 Na(+)-1 Ca2+ electrogenic exchanger. Action potential duration is known to be a significant inotropic variable, but the quantitative relation between changes in Ca2+ current, action potential duration, and developed tension has not been described in a single myocyte. We used the action potential voltage-clamp technique on ventricular myocytes loaded with indo 1 or rhod 2, both Ca2+ indicators, to study the relation between action potential duration, ICa-L, and cell shortening (inotropic effect). A rapid change from a "short" to a "long" action potential command waveform resulted in an immediate decrease in peak ICa-L and a marked slowing of its decline (inactivation). Prolongation of the action potential also resulted in slowly developing increases in the magnitude of Ca2+ transients (145 +/- 2%) and unloaded cell shortening (4.0 +/- 0.4 to 7.6 +/- 0.4 microns). The time-dependent nature of these effects suggests that a change in Ca2+ content (loading) of the sarcoplasmic reticulum is responsible. Measurement of [Ca2+]i by use of rhod 2 showed that changes in the rate of rise of the [Ca2+]i transient (which in rat ventricle is due to the rate of Ca2+ release from the sarcoplasmic reticulum) were closely correlated with changes in the magnitude and the time course of ICa-L.(ABSTRACT TRUNCATED AT 400 WORDS)[1]


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