Cellular uncoupling can unmask dispersion of action potential duration in ventricular myocardium. A computer modeling study.
Although slow conduction is a requirement for the preparation of sustained reentry, it alone is not sufficient for the initiation of reentry. Additionally, unidirectional block and recovery of excitability distal to the site of block must occur. Thus, a comprehensive description of the electrophysiological determinants of reentry must explain both slow conduction and unidirectional block. Although there is a growing body of research exploring the influence of axial resistivity and anisotropy on slow conduction, somewhat less is known about the relation of axial resistivity to spatial dispersion of action potential duration, a condition favorable to the development of unidirectional block. We hypothesized that when cells are well coupled, local differences in intrinsic action potential duration are not evident and that, as axial resistivity increases, local variation in action potential duration becomes manifest. We tested this hypothesis in a numerical model of electrical propagation in a grid of resistively coupled ionic current sources simulating a sheet of ventricular myocardium. Spatial dispersion of intrinsic action potential duration was simulated by varying the magnitude of the fully activated slow inward conductance in Beeler-Reuter membrane ionic kinetics. By then altering coupling resistance, we showed that dispersion of manifest action potential duration is masked in the setting of normal low-resistance cellular coupling and unmasked by increased axial resistance. When nonuniform anisotropy was simulated, dramatic pacing-site-dependent changes in both the pattern of activation and dispersion of action potential duration were noted. These findings may be important in understanding the mechanism of reentrant tachycardia initiation in the border zone of chronic, healed myocardial infarctions where evidence suggests that abnormal cellular coupling is the predominant electrophysiological derangement. In this study, we have shown, using a detailed ionic current-based model of cardiac electrical propagation, that changes in axial resistivity can modulate how spatial dispersion of intrinsic action potential duration is manifest.
- Copyright © 1989 by American Heart Association