A novel quantitative explanation for the autonomic modulation of cardiac pacemaker cell automaticity via a dynamic system of sarcolemmal and intracellular proteins

Victor A. Maltsev, Edward G. Lakatta

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

Classical numerical models have attributed the regulation of normal cardiac automaticity in sinoatrial node cells (SANCs) largely to G protein-coupled receptor (GPCR) modulation of sarcolemmal ion currents. More recent experimental evidence, however, has indicated that GPCR modulation of SANCs automaticity involves spontaneous, rhythmic, local Ca2+ releases (LCRs) from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). We explored the GPCR rate modulation of SANCs using a unique and novel numerical model of SANCs in which Ca2+-release characteristics are graded by variations in the SR Ca2+ pumping capability, mimicking the modulation by phospholamban regulated by cAMP-mediated, PKA-activated signaling. The model faithfully predicted the entire range of physiological chronotropic modulation of SANCs by the activation of β-adrenergic receptors or cholinergic receptors only when experimentally documented changes of sarcolemmal ion channels are combined with a simultaneous increase/decrease in SR Ca2+ pumping capability. The novel numerical mechanism of GPCR rate modulation is based on numerous complex synergistic interactions between sarcolemmal and intracellular processes via membrane voltage and Ca2+. Major interactions include changes of diastolic Na+/Ca2+ exchanger current that couple earlier/later diastolic Ca2+ releases (predicting the experimentally defined LCR period shift) of increased/decreased amplitude (predicting changes in LCR signal mass, i.e., the product of LCR spatial size, amplitude, and number per cycle) to the diastolic depolarization and ultimately to the spontaneous action potential firing rate. Concomitantly, larger/smaller and more/less frequent activation of L-type Ca2+ current shifts the cellular Ca2+ balance to support the respective Ca2+ cycling changes. In conclusion, our model simulations corroborate recent experimental results in rabbit SANCs pointing to a new paradigm for GPCR heart rate modulation by a complex system of dynamically coupled sarcolemmal and intracellular proteins.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H2010-H2023
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Volume298
Issue number6
DOIs
StatePublished - Jun 1 2010
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Calcium
  • Ion channels
  • Numerical modeling
  • Sarcoplasmic reticulum
  • Sinoatrial node cell

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)

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