Human Purkinje in silico model enables mechanistic investigations into automaticity and pro-arrhythmic abnormalities.
Trovato C., Passini E., Nagy N., Varro A., Abi-Gerges N., Severi S., Rodriguez B.
Cardiac Purkinje cells (PCs) are implicated in lethal arrhythmias caused by cardiac diseases, mutations, and drug action. However, the pro-arrhythmic mechanisms in PCs are not entirely understood, particularly in humans, as most investigations are conducted in animals. The aims of this study are to present a novel human PCs electrophysiology biophysically-detailed computational model, and to disentangle ionic mechanisms of human Purkinje-related electrophysiology, pacemaker activity and arrhythmogenicity. The new Trovato2020 model incorporates detailed Purkinje-specific ionic currents and Ca2+ handling, and was developed, calibrated and validated using human experimental data acquired at multiple frequencies, both in control conditions and following drug application. Multiscale investigations were performed in a Purkinje cell, in fibre and using an experimentally-calibrated population of PCs to evaluate biological variability. Simulations demonstrate the human Purkinje Trovato2020 model is the first one to yield: (i) all key AP features consistent with human Purkinje recordings; (ii) Automaticity with funny current up-regulation (iii) EADs at slow pacing and with 85% hERG block; (iv) DADs following fast pacing; (v) conduction velocity of 160 cm/s in a Purkinje fibre, as reported in human. The human in silico PCs population highlights that: (1) EADs are caused by ICaL reactivation in PCs with large inward currents; (2) DADs and triggered APs occur in PCs experiencing Ca2+ accumulation, at fast pacing, caused by large L-type calcium current and small Na+/Ca2+ exchanger. The novel human Purkinje model unlocks further investigations into the role of cardiac Purkinje in ventricular arrhythmias through computer modeling and multiscale simulations.