Functional basis of sinus bradycardia in congenital heart block.
ABSTRACT Congenital heart block (CHB) is a conduction abnormality characterized by complete atrioventricular (AV) block. CHB affects fetuses and/or newborn of mothers with autoantibodies reactive with ribonucleoproteins 48-kDa SSB/La, 52-kDa SSA/Ro, and 60-kDa SSA/Ro. We recently established animal models of CHB and reported, for the first time, significant sinus bradycardia preceding AV block. This unexpected observation implies that the spectrum of conduction abnormalities extends beyond the AV node to also affect the SA node. To test this hypothesis, we investigated the functional basis of this sinus bradycardia by characterizing the effects of antibodies from mothers with CHB children (positive IgG) on ionic currents that are known to significantly contribute to spontaneous pacing in SA node cells. We recorded L- (I(Ca.L)) and T- (I(Ca.T)) type Ca2+, delayed rectifier K+ (I(K)), hyperpolarization-activated (I(f)) currents, and action potentials (APs) from young rabbit SA node cells. We demonstrated that positive IgG significantly inhibited both I(Ca.T) and I(Ca.L) and induced sinus bradycardia but did not affect I(f) and I(K). Normal IgG from mothers with healthy children did not affect all the currents studied and APs. These results establish that IgG from mothers with CHB children causes substantial inhibition of I(Ca.T) and I(Ca.L), two important pacemaker currents in rabbit SA node cells and point to both I(Ca.T) and I(Ca.L) as major players in the ionic mechanism by which maternal antibodies induce sinus bradycardia in CHB. These novel findings have important clinical significance and suggest that sinus bradycardia may be a potential marker in the detection and prevention of CHB. The full text of this article is available online at http://circres.ahajournals.org
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ABSTRACT: The heart automaticity is a fundamental physiological function in higher organisms. The spontaneous activity is initiated by specialized populations of cardiac cells generating periodical electrical oscillations. The exact cascade of steps initiating the pacemaker cycle in automatic cells has not yet been entirely elucidated. Nevertheless, ion channels and intracellular Ca(2+) signaling are necessary for the proper setting of the pacemaker mechanism. Here, we review the current knowledge on the cellular mechanisms underlying the generation and regulation of cardiac automaticity. We discuss evidence on the functional role of different families of ion channels in cardiac pacemaking and review recent results obtained on genetically engineered mouse strains displaying dysfunction in heart automaticity. Beside ion channels, intracellular Ca(2+) release has been indicated as an important mechanism for promoting automaticity at rest as well as for acceleration of the heart rate under sympathetic nerve input. The potential links between the activity of ion channels and Ca(2+) release will be discussed with the aim to propose an integrated framework of the mechanism of automaticity.Physiological Reviews 08/2008; 88(3):919-82. · 26.87 Impact Factor
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ABSTRACT: Congenital complete atrioventricular block (CCAVB) is a rare potentially lethal disease with an estimated incidence of 1 every 15.000 to 20.000 live born infants.IN STRUCTURALLY NORMAL HEARTS TWO KINDS OF CONGENITAL HEART BLOCK CAN BE IDENTIFIED: one usually diagnosed in utero associated with the circulating maternal anti-SS-A/Ro and anti-SS-B/La antibodies, the other kind is detected later in the neonatal period or during the infancy or childhood and present no clear relation with maternal antibodies. Nowadays, the diagnosis can be made in utero as early as between week 16 and 28 of gestation by foetal echocardiography.The mortality in isolated CCAVB is estimated between 8 and 16% and between 4 and 8% in children and adults. The mortality and morbidity of patients diagnosed outside the neonatal period is significantly lower than those with a in utero diagnosis.Risk factors for worse outcome in CCAVB are the foetal diagnosis, the presence of hydrops fetalis, delivery at 32 weeks gestation, and a ventricular rate <55 beats/min in early pregnancy (13,18).Aim of this review is to delineate the current knowledge on CCAVB presenting in children without structural heart disease including aetiology, outcome and management. Also outlined in this review are some of the problems still debated in this issue.Heart International 01/2006; 2(1):1.
Article: Physiological and pharmacological insights into the role of ionic channels in cardiac pacemaker activity.[show abstract] [hide abstract]
ABSTRACT: The generation of cardiac pacemaker activity is a complex phenomenon which requires the coordinated activity of different membrane ionic channels, as well as intracellular signalling factors including Ca(2+) and second messengers. The precise mechanism initiating automaticity in primary pacemaker cells is still matter of debate and certain aspects of how channels cooperate in the regulation of pacemaking by the autonomic nervous system have not been entirely elucidated. Research in the physiopathology of cardiac automaticity has also gained a considerable interest in the domain of cardiovascular pharmacology, since accumulating clinical and epidemiological evidence indicate a link between an increase in heart rate and the risk of cardiac mortality and morbidity. Lowering the heart rate by specific bradycardic agents in patients with heart disease constitutes a promising way to increase cardioprotection and improve survival. Thus, the elucidation of the mechanisms underlying the generation of pacemaker activity is necessary for the development of new therapeutic molecules for controlling the heart rate. Recent work on genetically modified mouse models provided new and intriguing evidence linking the activity of ionic channels genes to the generation and regulation of pacemaking. Importantly, results obtained on genetically engineered mouse strains have demonstrated that some channels are specifically involved in the generation of cardiac automaticity and conduction, but have no functional impact on the contractile activity of the heart. In this article, we will outline the current knowledge on the role of ionic channels in cardiac pacemaker activity and suggest new potential pharmacological targets for controlling the heart rate without concomitant negative inotropism.Cardiovascular & Haematological Disorders - Drug Targets(Formerly Current Drug Targets - Cardiovascular & Hematological Disorders) 10/2006; 6(3):169-90.