Variations in the functional electrical coupling between the subendocardial Purkinje and ventricular layers of the canine left ventricle.
Action potential propagation from the subendocardial Purkinje network into the ventricular muscle is an essential link in cardiac activation. Studies of papillary muscles have indicated that ventricular muscle activation by the Purkinje network occurs only at discrete, localized regions near the papillary muscle base. Over the rest of the endocardial surface, however, the spatial distribution of these subendocardial Purkinje to ventricular muscle connections has been less well defined. We therefore studied in vitro 12 canine left ventricular preparations (eight from the septum, four from the lateral wall), using a high-density (1-mm spacings), high-resolution extracellular mapping technique to determine the subendocardial Purkinje and ventricular muscle activation sequences. These studies show that the distribution of subendocardial Purkinje to ventricular muscle electrical coupling is spatially inhomogeneous, and that the junctional regions themselves have variable degrees of electrical coupling. We also attempted to determine whether ventricular muscle coupling to the Purkinje network might influence Purkinje network conduction velocity. We found that on the papillary muscle apex, a region without direct Purkinje to ventricular muscle propagation, Purkinje network conduction velocity was slowed, suggesting that the Purkinje network might be electrically loaded by the underlying ventricular muscle. Finally, we performed numerical simulations using a model consisting of two layers of excitable cells to evaluate the effects that different electrical coupling patterns and/or different coupling resistivities between the two layers might have on activation of each layer. These simulation studies suggest that a coupling pattern having discrete junctional sites between the two layers (similar to our findings for subendocardial Purkinje to ventricular muscle coupling) is beneficial, as this arrangement allows more rapid activation of both layers by minimizing electrical loading of the thin Purkinje layer by the thicker ventricular muscle layer.
- Copyright © 1985 by American Heart Association