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

Action potential alternans and irregular dynamics in quinidine-intoxicated ventricular muscle cells. Implications for ventricular proarrhythmia.

BACKGROUND. Cardiac cells display rate-dependent beat-to-beat variations in action-potential duration (APD), action potential amplitude (APA), and excitability during periodic stimulation. We hypothesized that quinidine causes a marked increase in the variability of APD, APA, and excitability of ventricular cells isolated from quinidine-toxic, arrhythmic ventricles. METHODS AND RESULTS. Action potentials were recorded from right ventricular endocardial tissues (2 x 1 cm, < 2 mm thick) isolated from dogs in which ventricular tachycardia and ventricular fibrillation (VT/VF) were induced with intravenous quinidine (80-100 mg/kg) over a 5-hour period in vivo (n = 7). As the basic cycle length (BCL) of stimulation was progressively shortened, rate-dependent variations in APD and APA occurred. The initial dynamic change was alternans of APD and APA that could be either in or out of phase between two cells. The magnitude of alternans was a function of the BCL and the strength of the stimulation current. At critically short BCLs, irregular APD and APA behavior emerged in the quinidine-intoxicated cells. In control cells (n = 16) isolated from three nontreated dogs, APD and APA remained constant at all BCLs tested (2,000-300 msec). Quinidine increased the slope of the APD restitution curve compared with control. The observed quinidine APD restitution curve was fitted with a biexponential equation, and computer simulation using the fitted restitution curve reproduced the aperiodic APD seen in the quinidine toxic cells during periodic stimulation. Thus, the observed irregular APD behavior was predictable from the restitution curve. CONCLUSIONS. Quinidine toxicity increases the temporal and spatial variability of APD and APA in the ventricle that may promote the initiation of reentrant VT/VF in vivo. The slope of the APD restitution curve provides a method to quantitate inhomogeneities in repolarization time and could be a useful marker for proarrhythmia.[1]


  1. Action potential alternans and irregular dynamics in quinidine-intoxicated ventricular muscle cells. Implications for ventricular proarrhythmia. Karagueuzian, H.S., Khan, S.S., Hong, K., Kobayashi, Y., Denton, T., Mandel, W.J., Diamond, G.A. Circulation (1993) [Pubmed]
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