MATERIALS AND METHODS: Pro-arrhythmic properties in electrocardiographic and intracellular recordings were compared in young and aged, peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ coactivator-1β knockout (Pgc-1β-/-) and wild type (WT), Langendorff-perfused murine hearts, during regular and programmed stimulation (PES), comparing results by two-way ANOVA.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Young and aged Pgc-1β-/- showed higher frequencies and durations of arrhythmic episodes through wider PES coupling-interval ranges than WT. Both young and old, regularly-paced, Pgc-1β-/- hearts showed slowed maximum action potential (AP) upstrokes, (dV/dt)max (∼157 vs. 120-130 V s-1), prolonged AP latencies (by ∼20%) and shortened refractory periods (∼58 vs. 51 ms) but similar AP durations (∼50 ms at 90% recovery) compared to WT. However, Pgc-1β-/- genotype and age each influenced extrasystolic AP latencies during PES. Young and aged WT ventricles displayed distinct, but Pgc-1β-/- ventricles displayed similar dependences of AP latency upon (dV/dt)max resembling aged WT. They also independently increased myocardial fibrosis. AP wavelengths combining activation and recovery terms paralleled contrasting arrhythmic incidences in Pgc-1β-/- and WT hearts. Mitochondrial dysfunction thus causes pro-arrhythmic Pgc-1β-/- phenotypes by altering AP conduction through reducing (dV/dt)max and causing age-dependent fibrotic change.
MATERIALS AND METHODS: We tested a hypothesis implicating Na+ current alterations as a mechanism underlying these electrophysiological phenotypes. We applied loose patch-clamp techniques to intact young and aged, WT and Pgc-1β-/-, atrial cardiomyocyte preparations preserving their in vivo extracellular and intracellular conditions.
RESULTS AND DISCUSSION: Depolarising steps activated typical voltage-dependent activating and inactivating inward (Na+) currents whose amplitude increased or decreased with the amplitudes of the activating, or preceding inactivating, steps. Maximum values of peak Na+ current were independently influenced by genotype but not age or interacting effects of genotype and age on two-way ANOVA. Neither genotype, nor age, whether independently or interactively, influenced voltages at half-maximal current, or steepness factors, for current activation and inactivation, or time constants for recovery from inactivation following repolarisation. In contrast, delayed outward (K+) currents showed similar activation and rectification properties through all experimental groups. These findings directly demonstrate and implicate reduced Na+ in contrast to unchanged K+ current, as a mechanism for slowed conduction causing atrial arrhythmogenicity in Pgc-1β-/- hearts.