Quantitative analysis of variability in an integrated model of human ventricular electrophysiology and β-adrenergic signaling

Jingqi Q.X. Gong, Monica E. Susilo, Anna Sher, Cynthia J. Musante, Eric A. Sobie

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

13 Scopus citations


In ventricular myocytes, stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors activates critical cardiac signaling pathways, leading to shorter action potentials and increased contraction strength during the “fight-or-flight” response. These changes primarily result, at the cellular level, from the coordinated phosphorylation of multiple targets by protein kinase A. Although mathematical models of the intracellular signaling downstream of β-adrenergic receptor activation have previously been described, only a limited number of studies have explored quantitative interactions between intracellular signaling and electrophysiology in human ventricular myocytes. Accordingly, our objective was to develop an integrative mathematical model of β-adrenergic receptor signaling, electrophysiology, and intracellular calcium (Ca2+) handling in the healthy human ventricular myocyte. We combined published mathematical models of intracellular signaling and electrophysiology, then calibrated the model results against voltage clamp data and physiological changes occurring after stimulation of β-adrenergic receptors with isoproterenol. We subsequently: (1) explored how molecular variability in different categories of model parameters translated into phenotypic variability; (2) identified the most important parameters determining physiological cellular outputs in the model before and after β-adrenergic receptor stimulation; and (3) investigated which molecular level alterations can produce a phenotype indicative of heart failure with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF). Major results included: (1) variability in parameters that controlled intracellular signaling caused qualitatively different behavior than variability in parameters controlling ion transport pathways; (2) the most important model parameters determining action potential duration and intracellular Ca2+ transient amplitude were generally consistent before and after β-adrenergic receptor stimulation, except for a shift in the importance of K+ currents in determining action potential duration; and (3) decreased Ca2+ uptake into the sarcoplasmic reticulum, increased Ca2+ extrusion through Na+/Ca2+ exchanger and decreased Ca2+ leak from the sarcoplasmic reticulum may contribute to HFpEF. Overall, this study provided novel insight into the phenotypic consequences of molecular variability, and our integrated model may be useful in the design and interpretation of future experimental studies of interactions between β-adrenergic signaling and cellular physiology in human ventricular myocytes.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)96-106
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of Molecular and Cellular Cardiology
StatePublished - Jun 2020


  • Arrhythmia
  • Autonomic regulation
  • Heart failure
  • Mathematical modeling
  • Simulations
  • Sympathetic stimulation


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