Background: Ventricular arrhythmias and sudden cardiac deaths are among the leading causes of mortality in patients with heart failure, and the underlying mechanisms remain incompletely understood. Chronic elevation of angiotensin II (ANGII) is known to be one of the main contributors to heart failure.
Objective: We tested whether ANGII can alter ventricular conduction and Na(+) current using transgenic mice with cardiomyocyte-restricted overexpression of ANGII type 1 receptor (AT1R).
Methods: We used surface electrocardiograms along with current- and voltage-clamp techniques to characterize the electrophysiological properties of AT1R mice while the underlying regulatory mechanisms were explored using reverse transcription/quantitative polymerase chain reaction, Western blots, and immunofluorescence techniques.
Results: Electrophysiological data indicated that chronic AT1R activation in ventricular myocytes caused a 60% reduction in Na(+) current density that slowed the maximal velocity of the action potential upstroke, leading to a prolongation of the QRS complex. These changes occur independently of cardiac hypertrophy, suggesting a direct role for ANGII/AT1R in slowing ventricular conduction. Western blots demonstrated a selective increase in sarcolemmal protein kinase Cα (PKCα) in AT1R mice, indicating PKCα activation. Furthermore, immunofluorescence analysis showed reorganization of PKCα expression to sarcolemma and colocalization with NaV1.5 in AT1R myocytes. The involvement of PKCα in regulating Na(+) current was subsequently demonstrated in human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes where ANGII treatment reduced Na(+) current density. Concomitant treatment with αV5-3, a PKCα translocation inhibitor peptide, blocked the ANGII effect.
Conclusion: Overall, this study suggests that in mouse and human cardiomyocytes, PKCα is an important mediator of the ANGII-induced reduction in Na(+) current and may contribute to ventricular arrhythmias.
Keywords: Angiotensin II type 1 receptor; Arrhythmia; Na(+) current; Protein kinase Cα; Ventricular conduction; hiPSC-CM.
Copyright © 2016 Heart Rhythm Society. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.