Aims: Reentry accounts for most life-threatening arrhythmias, complicating myocardial infarction, and therapies that consistently prevent reentry from occurring are lacking. In this study, we compare antiarrhythmic effects of gene transfer of green fluorescent protein (GFP; sham), the skeletal muscle sodium channel (SkM1), the liver-specific connexin (Cx32), and SkM1/Cx32 in the subacute canine infarct.
Methods and results: Immediately after ligation of the left anterior descending artery, viral constructs were implanted in the epicardial border zone (EBZ). Five to 7 days later, efficient restoration of impulse propagation (narrow QRS and local electrogram duration) occurred in SkM1, Cx32, and SkM1/Cx32 groups (P< 0.05 vs. GFP). Programmed electrical stimulation from the EBZ induced sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT)/ventricular fibrillation (VF) in 15/22 GFP dogs vs. 2/12 SkM1, 6/14 Cx32, and 8/10 SkM1/Cx32 (P< 0.05 SkM1 vs. GFP). GFP, SkM1, and SkM1/Cx32 had predominantly polymorphic VT/VF, whereas in Cx32 dogs, monomorphic VT predominated (P< 0.05 for Cx32 vs. GFP). Tetrazolium red staining showed significantly larger infarcts in Cx32- vs. GFP-treated animals (P< 0.05).
Conclusion: Whereas SkM1 gene transfer reduces the incidence of inducible VT/VF, Cx32 therapy to improve gap junctional conductance results in larger infarct size, a different VT morphology, and no antiarrhythmic efficacy.