We tested the hypothesis that in atrial myocytes from a rabbit left ventricular heart failure (HF) model, spatial inhomogeneity and temporal dyssynchrony of Ca removal during excitation-contraction coupling together with increased Na/Ca exchange (NCX) activity generates a substrate for proarrhythmic Ca release. Ca removal occurs via Ca reuptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum and extrusion via NCX exclusively in the cell periphery since rabbit atrial myocytes lack transverse tubules. Ca removal kinetics were assessed by the time constant τ of decay of local peripheral subsarcolemmal (SS) and central (CT) action potential (AP) induced Ca transients (CaTs) recorded in confocal line scan mode (using Fluo-4). Spatial and temporal dyssynchrony of Ca removal was quantified by CV TAU, defined as the standard deviation of local τ along the transverse cell axis divided by mean τ. In normal cells CT CaT decline was slower compared to the SS domain, while in HF cells decline was accelerated, became equal in SS and CT regions, and a significant increase of CV TAU indicated an increased Ca removal dyssynchrony. In HF atrial cells NCX upregulation was accompanied by an overall higher incidence of spontaneous Ca waves and a higher propensity of arrhythmogenic Ca waves, defined as waves that triggered APs due to NCX mediated membrane depolarization. NCX inhibition normalized CV TAU in HF atrial cells and decreased the propensity of Ca waves. In summary, HF atrial myocytes show accelerated but dyssynchronous diastolic Ca removal and altered SERCA and NCX activity that result in increased susceptibility to arrhythmia.
- atrial myocyte
- excitation-contraction coupling
- calcium removal
- Na/Ca exchange
- heart failure
- Copyright © 2016, American Journal of Physiology-Heart and Circulatory Physiology