Modulation of transmural repolarization

Ann N Y Acad Sci. 2005 Jun:1047:314-23. doi: 10.1196/annals.1341.028.


Ventricular myocardium in larger mammals has been shown to be comprised of three distinct cell types: epicardial, M, and endocardial. Epicardial and M cell action potentials differ from endocardial cells with respect to the morphology of phase 1. These cells possess a prominent I(to)-mediated notch responsible for the "spike and dome" morphology of the epicardial and M cell response. M cells are distinguished from the other cell types in that they display a smaller I(Ks), but a larger late I(Na) and I(Na-Ca). These ionic distinctions underlie the longer action potential duration (APD) and steeper APD-rate relationship of the M cell. Difference in the time course of repolarization of phase 1 and phase 3 are responsible for the inscription of the electrocardiographic J wave and T wave, respectively. These repolarization gradients are sensitively modulated by electrotonic communication among the three cells types, [K(1)](o), and the presence of drugs that either reduce or augment net repolarizing current. A reduction in net repolarizing current generally leads to a preferential prolongation of the M cell action potential, responsible for a prolongation of the QT interval and an increase in transmural dispersion of repolarization (TDR), which underlies the development of torsade de pointes arrhythmias. An increase in net repolarizing current can lead to a preferential abbreviation of the action potential of epicardium in the right ventricle (RV), and endocardium in the left ventricle (LV). These actions also lead to a TDR that manifests as the Brugada syndrome in RV and the short QT syndrome in LV.

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, P.H.S.
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials / physiology
  • Animals
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart Conduction System / physiology*
  • Heart Conduction System / physiopathology
  • Heart Ventricles / physiopathology
  • Humans
  • Long QT Syndrome / etiology
  • Long QT Syndrome / physiopathology
  • Syndrome
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / physiopathology
  • Ventricular Function*