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Beat-to-beat variability in repolarization (BVR) has been proposed as an arrhythmic risk marker for disease and pharmacological action. The mechanisms are unclear but BVR is thought to be a cell level manifestation of ion channel stochasticity, modulated by cell-to-cell differences in ionic conductances. In this study, we describe the construction of an experimentally-calibrated set of stochastic cardiac cell models that captures both BVR and cell-to-cell differences in BVR displayed in isolated canine action potential measurements using pharmacological agents. Simulated and experimental ranges of BVR are compared in control and under pharmacological inhibition, and the key ionic currents determining BVR under physiological and pharmacological conditions are identified. Results show that the 4-aminopyridine-sensitive transient outward potassium current, Ito1, is a fundamental driver of BVR in control and upon complete inhibition of the slow delayed rectifier potassium current, IKs. In contrast, IKs and the L-type calcium current, ICaL, become the major contributors to BVR upon inhibition of the fast delayed rectifier potassium current, IKr. This highlights both IKs and Ito1 as key contributors to repolarization reserve. Partial correlation analysis identifies the distribution of Ito1 channel numbers as an important independent determinant of the magnitude of BVR and drug-induced change in BVR in control and under pharmacological inhibition of ionic currents. Distributions in the number of IKs and ICaL channels only become independent determinants of the magnitude of BVR upon complete inhibition of IKr. These findings provide quantitative insights into the ionic causes of BVR as a marker for repolarization reserve, both under control condition and pharmacological inhibition.

Original publication

DOI

10.1371/journal.pone.0151461

Type

Journal article

Journal

PLoS One

Publication Date

2016

Volume

11

Keywords

4-Aminopyridine, Action Potentials, Algorithms, Animals, Calcium Channels, L-Type, Cells, Cultured, Computational Biology, Computer Simulation, Dogs, Humans, Ion Channel Gating, Kinetics, Models, Cardiovascular, Myocytes, Cardiac, Potassium Channel Blockers, Potassium Channels, Stochastic Processes