Electrical remodeling contributes to complex tachyarrhythmias in connexin43-deficient mouse hearts

Stephan B. Danik, Gregg Rosner, Joshua Lader, David E. Gutstein, Glenn I. Fishman, Gregory E. Morley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

59 Scopus citations


Loss of connexin43 (Cx43) gap junction channels in the heart results in a marked increase in the incidence of spontaneous and inducible polymorphic ventricular tachyarrhythmias (PVTs). The mechanisms resulting in this phenotype remain unclear. We hypothesized that uncoupling promotes regional ion channel remodeling, thereby increasing electrical heterogeneity and facilitating the development of PVT. In isolated-perfused control hearts, programmed electrical stimulation elicited infrequent monomorphic ventricular tachyarrhythmias (MVT), and dominant frequencies (DFs) during MVT were similar in the right ventricle (RV) and left ventricle (LV). Moreover, conduction properties, action potential durations (APDs), and repolarizing current densities were similar in RV and LV myocytes. In contrast, PVT was common in Cx43 conditional knockout (OCKO) hearts, and arrhythmias were characterized by significantly higher DFs in the RV compared to the LV. APDs in OCKO myocytes were significantly shorter than those from chamber-matched controls, with RV OCKO myocytes being most affected. APD shortening was associated with higher levels of sustained current in myocytes from both chambers as well as higher levels of the inward rectifier current only in RV myocytes. Thus, alterations in cell-cell coupling lead to regional changes in potassium current expression, which in this case facilitates the development of reentrant arrhythmias. We propose a new mechanistic link between electrical uncoupling and ion channel remodeling. These findings may be relevant not only in cardiac tissue but also to other organ systems where gap junction remodeling is known to occur.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1204-1212
Number of pages9
JournalFASEB Journal
Issue number4
StatePublished - Apr 2008
Externally publishedYes


  • Gap junction channels
  • Ion channel remodeling


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