Inhibition of intercellular coupling stabilizes spiral-wave reentry, whereas enhancement of the coupling destabilizes the reentry in favor of early termination

Yoshio Takemoto, Hiroki Takanari, Haruo Honjo, Norihiro Ueda, Masahide Harada, Sara Kato, Masatoshi Yamazaki, Ichiro Sakuma, Tobias Opthof, Itsuo Kodama, Kaichiro Kamiya
American Journal of Physiology. Heart and Circulatory Physiology 2012 September 1, 303 (5): H578-86
Spiral-wave (SW) reentry is a major organizing principle of ventricular tachycardia/fibrillation (VT/VF). We tested a hypothesis that pharmacological modification of gap junction (GJ) conductance affects the stability of SW reentry in a two-dimensional (2D) epicardial ventricular muscle layer prepared by endocardial cryoablation of Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts. Action potential signals were recorded and analyzed by high-resolution optical mapping. Carbenoxolone (CBX; 30 μM) and rotigaptide (RG, 0.1 μM) were used to inhibit and enhance GJ coupling, respectively. CBX decreased the space constant (λ) by 36%, whereas RG increased it by 22-24% (n = 5; P < 0.01). During centrifugal propagation, there was a linear relationship between the wavefront curvature (κ) and local conduction velocity (LCV): LCV = LCV(0) - D·κ (D, diffusion coefficient; LCV(0), LCV at κ = 0). CBX decreased LCV(0) and D by 27 ± 3 and 57 ± 3%, respectively (n = 5; P < 0.01). RG increased LCV(0) and D by 18 ± 3 and 54 ± 5%, respectively (n = 5, P < 0.01). The regression lines with and without RG crossed, resulting in a paradoxical decrease of LCV with RG at κ > ~60 cm(-1). SW reentry induced after CBX was stable, and the incidence of sustained VTs (>30 s) increased from 38 ± 4 to 85 ± 4% after CBX (n = 18; P < 0.01). SW reentry induced after RG was characterized by decremental conduction near the rotation center, prominent drift and self-termination by collision with the anatomical boundaries, and the incidence of sustained VTs decreased from 40 ± 5 to 17 ± 6% after RG (n = 13; P < 0.05). These results suggest that decreased intercellular coupling stabilizes SW reentry in 2D cardiac muscle, whereas increased coupling facilitates its early self-termination.

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