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Several mathematical models of rabbit ventricular action potential (AP) have been proposed to investigate mechanisms of arrhythmias and excitation-contraction coupling. Our study aims at systematically characterizing how ionic current properties modulate the main cellular biomarkers of arrhythmic risk using two widely-used rabbit ventricular models, and comparing simulation results using the two models with experimental data available for rabbit. A sensitivity analysis of AP properties, Ca²⁺ and Na⁺ dynamics, and their rate dependence to variations (±15% and ±30%) in the main transmembrane current conductances and kinetics was performed using the Shannon et al. (2004) and the Mahajan et al. (2008a,b) AP rabbit models. The effects of severe transmembrane current blocks (up to 100%) on steady-state AP and calcium transients, and AP duration (APD) restitution curves were also simulated using both models. Our simulations show that, in both virtual rabbit cardiomyocytes, APD is significantly modified by most repolarization currents, AP triangulation is regulated mostly by the inward rectifier K⁺ current (I(K1)) whereas APD rate adaptation as well as [Na⁺](i) rate dependence is influenced by the Na⁺/K⁺ pump current (I(NaK)). In addition, steady-state [Ca²⁺](i) levels, APD restitution properties and [Ca²⁺](i) rate dependence are strongly dependent on I(NaK), the L-Type Ca²⁺ current (I(CaL)) and the Na⁺/Ca²⁺ exchanger current (I(NaCa)), although the relative role of these currents is markedly model dependent. Furthermore, our results show that simulations using both models agree with many experimentally-reported electrophysiological characteristics. However, our study shows that the Shannon et al. model mimics rabbit electrophysiology more accurately at normal pacing rates, whereas Mahajan et al. model behaves more appropriately at faster rates. Our results reinforce the usefulness of sensitivity analysis for further understanding of cellular electrophysiology and validation of cardiac AP models.

Original publication




Journal article


Prog Biophys Mol Biol

Publication Date





60 - 73


Action Potentials, Animals, Arrhythmias, Cardiac, Biomarkers, Calcium, Electrophysiological Phenomena, Heart Rate, Heart Ventricles, Models, Biological, Rabbits, Risk, Sodium, Time Factors, Ventricular Function