Hysteresis in the excitability of isolated guinea pig ventricular myocytes.
Hysteresis phenomena were demonstrated in the excitability of single, enzymatically dissociated guinea pig ventricular myocytes. Membrane potentials were recorded with patch pipettes in the whole-cell current-clamp configuration. Repetitive stimulation with depolarizing current pulses of constant cycle length and duration but varying strength led to predictable excitation (1:1) and nonexcitation (1:0) patterns depending on current strength. However, transition between patterns depended on the direction of current strength change, and stable hysteresis loops were obtained in stimulus-response pattern versus current strength plots in 31 cells. Increase of pulse duration and decrease of stimulation rate contributed to a reduction in hysteresis loop areas. In addition, at the abrupt transitions from 1:0 to 1:1 patterns, a latency adaptation phenomenon was consistently observed. Bath application of tetrodotoxin (30 microM) produced no change of hysteresis, whereas hysteresis was substantially decreased in cobalt (2 mM) superfusion experiments. Analysis of the changes in amplitude and shape of the subthreshold responses during the transitions from one stable pattern to the other suggested that activity led to an increase in membrane resistance, particularly in the voltage domain between resting and threshold potentials. We therefore modeled the dynamic behavior of the single cells, using an analytical solution aimed at calculating the recovery of activation latency as a function of diastolic membrane resistance. Numerical iteration of the analytical model equations closely reproduced the experimental hysteresis loops in both qualitative and quantitative ways. The effect of stimulation frequency on the model was similar to the experimental findings. The overall study suggests that the excitability pattern of guinea pig ventricular myocytes is responsible for hysteresis and bistabilities when current intensity is allowed to fluctuate around threshold levels.
- Copyright © 1991 by American Heart Association