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Variability is observed at all levels of cardiac electrophysiology. Yet, the underlying causes and importance of this variability are generally unknown, and difficult to investigate with current experimental techniques. The aim of the present study was to generate populations of computational ventricular action potential models that reproduce experimentally observed intercellular variability of repolarisation (represented by action potential duration) and to identify its potential causes. A systematic exploration of the effects of simultaneously varying the magnitude of six transmembrane current conductances (transient outward, rapid and slow delayed rectifier K(+), inward rectifying K(+), L-type Ca(2+), and Na(+)/K(+) pump currents) in two rabbit-specific ventricular action potential models (Shannon et al. and Mahajan et al.) at multiple cycle lengths (400, 600, 1,000 ms) was performed. This was accomplished with distributed computing software specialised for multi-dimensional parameter sweeps and grid execution. An initial population of 15,625 parameter sets was generated for both models at each cycle length. Action potential durations of these populations were compared to experimentally derived ranges for rabbit ventricular myocytes. 1,352 parameter sets for the Shannon model and 779 parameter sets for the Mahajan model yielded action potential duration within the experimental range, demonstrating that a wide array of ionic conductance values can be used to simulate a physiological rabbit ventricular action potential. Furthermore, by using clutter-based dimension reordering, a technique that allows visualisation of multi-dimensional spaces in two dimensions, the interaction of current conductances and their relative importance to the ventricular action potential at different cycle lengths were revealed. Overall, this work represents an important step towards a better understanding of the role that variability in current conductances may play in experimentally observed intercellular variability of rabbit ventricular action potential repolarisation.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0090112

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2014

Volume

9

Keywords

Action Potentials, Animals, Calcium, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Heart Ventricles, Ion Transport, Models, Statistical, Multifactor Dimensionality Reduction, Potassium, Potassium Channels, Calcium-Activated, Potassium Channels, Inwardly Rectifying, Potassium Channels, Voltage-Gated, Rabbits, Sodium, Sodium-Potassium-Exchanging ATPase, Software