Background: Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is a familial arrhythmic syndrome caused by mutations in genes encoding the calcium-regulation proteins cardiac ryanodine receptor (RyR2) or calsequestrin-2 (CASQ2). Mechanistic studies indicate that CPVT is mediated by diastolic Ca(2+) overload and increased Ca(2+) leak through the RyR2 channel, implying that treatment targeting these defects might be efficacious in CPVT.
Method and results: CPVT mouse models that lack CASQ2 were treated with Ca(2+) -channel inhibitors, β-adrenergic inhibitors, or Mg(2+) . Treatment effects on ventricular arrhythmia, sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) protein expression and Ca(2+) transients of isolated myocytes were assessed. Each study agent reduced the frequency of stress-induced ventricular arrhythmia in mutant mice. The Ca(2+) channel blocker verapamil was most efficacious and completely prevented arrhythmia in 85% of mice. Verapamil significantly increased the SR Ca(2+) content in mutant myocytes, diminished diastolic Ca(2+) overload, increased systolic Ca(2+) amplitude, and prevented Ca(2+) oscillations in stressed mutant myocytes.
Conclusions: Ca(2+) channel inhibition by verapamil rectified abnormal calcium handling in CPVT myocytes and prevented ventricular arrhythmias. Verapamil-induced partial normalization of SR Ca(2+) content in mutant myocytes implicates CASQ2 as modulator of RyR2 activity, rather than or in addition to, Ca(2+) buffer protein. Agents such as verapamil that attenuate cardiomyocyte calcium overload are appropriate for assessing clinical efficacy in human CPVT.
© 2010 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.