The relative influences of phosphometabolites and pH on action potential morphology during myocardial reperfusion: a simulation study

PLoS One. 2012;7(11):e47117. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0047117. Epub 2012 Nov 7.


Myocardial ischemia-reperfusion (IR) injury represents a constellation of pathological processes that occur when ischemic myocardium experiences a restoration of perfusion. Reentrant arrhythmias, which represent a particularly lethal manifestation of IR injury, can result when ischemic tissue exhibits decreased excitability and/or changes of action potential duration (APD), conditions that precipitate unidirectional conduction block. Many of the cellular components that are involved with IR injury are modulated by pH and/or phosphometabolites such as ATP and phosphocreatine (PCr), all of which can be manipulated in vivo and potentially in the clinical setting. Using a mathematical model of the cardiomyocyte that we previously developed to study ischemia and reperfusion, we performed a series of simulations with the aim of determining whether pH- or phosphometabolite-related processes play a more significant role in generating changes in excitability and action potential morphology that are associated with the development of reentry. In our simulations, persistent shortening of APD, action potential amplitude (APA), and depolarization of the resting membrane potential were more severe when ATP and PCr availability were suppressed during reperfusion than when extracellular pH recovery was inhibited. Reduced phosphometabolite availability and pH recovery affected multiple ion channels and exchangers. Some of these effects were the result of direct modulation by phosphometabolites and/or acidosis, while others resulted from elevated sodium and calcium loads during reperfusion. In addition, increasing ATP and PCr availability during reperfusion was more beneficial in terms of increasing APD and APA than was increasing the amount of pH recovery. Together, these results suggest that therapies directed at increasing ATP and/or PCr availability during reperfusion may be more beneficial than perturbing pH recovery with regard to mitigating action potential changes that increase the likelihood of reentrant arrhythmias.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials*
  • Adenosine Triphosphate / metabolism*
  • Animals
  • Computer Simulation
  • Guinea Pigs
  • Heart / physiopathology
  • Hydrogen-Ion Concentration
  • Models, Biological
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / metabolism
  • Myocardial Reperfusion Injury / physiopathology*
  • Myocardial Reperfusion*
  • Myocardium / metabolism
  • Myocardium / pathology
  • Phosphocreatine / metabolism*


  • Phosphocreatine
  • Adenosine Triphosphate