[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Cardiac pacemaker cells create rhythmic pulses that control heart rate; pacemaker dysfunction is a prevalent disorder in the elderly, but little is known about the underlying molecular causes. Popeye domain containing (Popdc) genes encode membrane proteins with high expression levels in cardiac myocytes and specifically in the cardiac pacemaking and conduction system. Here, we report the phenotypic analysis of mice deficient in Popdc1 or Popdc2. ECG analysis revealed severe sinus node dysfunction when freely roaming mutant animals were subjected to physical or mental stress. In both mutants, bradyarrhythmia developed in an age-dependent manner. Furthermore, we found that the conserved Popeye domain functioned as a high-affinity cAMP-binding site. Popdc proteins interacted with the potassium channel TREK-1, which led to increased cell surface expression and enhanced current density, both of which were negatively modulated by cAMP. These data indicate that Popdc proteins have an important regulatory function in heart rate dynamics that is mediated, at least in part, through cAMP binding. Mice with mutant Popdc1 and Popdc2 alleles are therefore useful models for the dissection of the mechanisms causing pacemaker dysfunction and could aid in the development of strategies for therapeutic intervention.
The Journal of clinical investigation 03/2012; 122(3):1119-30. · 15.39 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: Although numerous studies have reported the effects of genetic alterations on murine electrophysiology, the range of normal values for ventricular activation, repolarization, and arrhythmias in mouse hearts is not known. We analyzed right ventricular (RV), left ventricular (LV), and septal activation times, monophasic action potential durations (APD), and right ventricular effective refractory periods during spontaneous rhythm, induced AV nodal block, right ventricular pacing (100-300 ms paced cycle length), and programmed stimulation in 410 beating, Langendorff-perfused, wild-type mouse hearts of CD1, DBAC3H, FVBN, C57/Bl6, and hybrid backgrounds (age 203 +/- 132 days). Action potential duration was longer at longer cycle lengths. LV-APD prolonged more than RV-APD, resulting in an increased heterogeneity of APD at longer pacing cycle lengths. Higher heart weight/body weight ratio and DBAC3H and FVB/N backgrounds were associated with long APD, C57Bl/6 background was associated with short APD. Activation times were longer in older hearts. There were no clear-cut sex-dependent APD differences. Sustained spontaneous arrhythmias occurred in 1% of hearts, non-sustained arrhythmias in 18%. Induction of AV block and C57Bl/6 genetic background were associated with spontaneous arrhythmias. Programmed stimulation induced arrhythmias in 51% of hearts. Inducible arrhythmias were associated with advanced age and shorter refractory periods. Ventricular APD in beating mouse hearts show rate- and site-dependent changes comparable to man and large animals. Bradycardia provokes spontaneous arrhythmias in mouse heart, while age-dependent conduction slowing and short refractory periods predispose to induced arrhythmias. Genetic background influences repolarization and arrhythmogenesis. These findings provide systematic data for the design and interpretation of arrhythmia studies in murine disease models.
Archiv für Kreislaufforschung 04/2009; 104(5):523-33. · 7.35 Impact Factor
[show abstract][hide abstract] ABSTRACT: The concept of mechano-electrical feedback was derived from the observation that a short stretch applied to the beating heart can invoke an electrical response in the form of an afterdepolarization or a premature ventricular beat. More recent work has identified stretch-activated channels whose specific inhibition might help to treat atrial fibrillation in the near future. But the interaction between electrical and mechanical function of the heart is a continuum from short-term (within milliseconds) to long-term (within weeks or months) effects. The long-term effects of pressure overload have been well-described on the molecular and cellular level, and substances that interact with these processes are used in clinical routine in the care of patients with cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure. These treatments help to prevent lethal arrhythmias (sudden death) and potentially atrial fibrillation. The intermediate interaction between mechanical and electrical function of the heart is less well-understood. Several recently identified regulatory mechanisms may provide novel antiarrhythmic targets associated with the "intermediate" response of the myocardium to stretch.
Progress in Biophysics and Molecular Biology 01/2008; 97(2-3):497-512. · 2.91 Impact Factor