Effects of the discrete pattern of electrical coupling on propagation through an electrical syncytium.
We used numerical integration techniques to simulate action potential propagation along one-dimensional strands of cells coupled with electrical junctions. We considered the standard case to be a series of cardiac cells (20 micrometer in diameter, 50 micrometers long) with intercellular coupling such that the effective longitudinal resistance was 200 omega cm. The membrane properties were represented by the model of Beeler and Reuter (1977) (Sharp and Joyner, 1980). By increasing Ri (and thus decreasing the space constant, L), we showed that effects due to the discrete cell length, delta X, became apparent when delta X/L was greater than about 0.2, producing an increased maximal dV/dt but a decrease in peak inward current. We also simulated the effects of a periodic spatial variation in Ri, representing a structure with groups of well-coupled cells but with minimal coupling between the groups. Even with a constant membrane model and cell size, variations in the spatial pattern of interconnection produced significant changes in action potential shape and velocity, with some patterns producing decremental conduction or propagation failure.
- Copyright © 1982 by American Heart Association