Characterization and functional role of rapid- and slow-activating delayed rectifier K+ currents in atrioventricular node cells of guinea pigs

Mayumi Yuasa, Akiko Kojima, Xinya Mi, Wei Guang Ding, Mariko Omatsu-Kanbe, Hirotoshi Kitagawa, Hiroshi Matsuura

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The atrioventricular (AV) node is the only conduction pathway where electrical impulse can pass from atria to ventricles and exhibits spontaneous automaticity. This study examined the function of the rapid- and slow-activating delayed rectifier K+ currents (IKr and IKs) in the regulation of AV node automaticity. Isolated AV node cells from guinea pigs were current- and voltage-clamped to record the action potentials and the IKr and IKs current. The expression of IKr or IKs was confirmed in the AV node cells by immunocytochemistry, and the positive signals of both channels were localized mainly on the cell membrane. The basal spontaneous automaticity was equally reduced by E4031 and HMR-1556, selective blockers of IKr and IKs, respectively. The nonselective β-adrenoceptor agonist isoproterenol markedly increased the firing rate of action potentials. In the presence of isoproterenol, the firing rate of action potentials was more effectively reduced by the IKs inhibitor HMR-1556 than by the IKr inhibitor E4031. Both E4031 and HMR-1556 prolonged the action potential duration and depolarized the maximum diastolic potential under basal and β-adrenoceptor–stimulated conditions. IKr was not significantly influenced by β-adrenoceptor stimulation, but IKs was concentration-dependently enhanced by isoproterenol (EC50: 15 nM), with a significant negative voltage shift in the channel activation. These findings suggest that both the IKr and IKs channels might exert similar effects on regulating the repolarization process of AV node action potentials under basal conditions; however, when the β-adrenoceptor is activated, IKs modulation may become more important.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1885-1898
Number of pages14
JournalPflugers Archiv European Journal of Physiology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - Dec 2021
Externally publishedYes

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Physiology
  • Clinical Biochemistry
  • Physiology (medical)


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