Dependency of Calcium Alternans on Ryanodine Receptor Refractoriness

Alvarez-Lacalle, Enric; Cantalapiedra, Inma R.; Peñaranda, Angelina; Cinca, Juan; Hove-Madsen, Leif; Echebarria, Blas
February 2013
PLoS ONE;Feb2013, Vol. 8 Issue 2, p1
Academic Journal
Background: Rapid pacing rates induce alternations in the cytosolic calcium concentration caused by fluctuations in calcium released from the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). However, the relationship between calcium alternans and refractoriness of the SR calcium release channel (RyR2) remains elusive. Methodology/Principal Findings: To investigate how ryanodine receptor (RyR2) refractoriness modulates calcium handling on a beat-to-beat basis using a numerical rabbit cardiomyocyte model. We used a mathematical rabbit cardiomyocyte model to study the beat-to-beat calcium response as a function of RyR2 activation and inactivation. Bi-dimensional maps were constructed depicting the beat-to-beat response. When alternans was observed, a novel numerical clamping protocol was used to determine whether alternans was caused by oscillations in SR calcium loading or by RyR2 refractoriness. Using this protocol, we identified regions of RyR2 gating parameters where SR calcium loading or RyR2 refractoriness underlie the induction of calcium alternans, and we found that at the onset of alternans both mechanisms contribute. At low inactivation rates of the RyR2, calcium alternans was caused by alternation in SR calcium loading, while at low activation rates it was caused by alternation in the level of available RyR2s. Conclusions/Significance: We have mapped cardiomyocyte beat-to-beat responses as a function of RyR2 activation and inactivation, identifying domains where SR calcium load or RyR2 refractoriness underlie the induction of calcium alternans. A corollary of this work is that RyR2 refractoriness due to slow recovery from inactivation can be the cause of calcium alternans even when alternation in SR calcium load is present.


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