Ryan P O'Connell

University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States

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Publications (9)62.74 Total impact

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    ABSTRACT: Background: Epicardial adiposity and plasma levels of free fatty acids (FFAs) are elevated in atrial fibrillation, heart failure and obesity, with potentially detrimental effects on myocardial function. As major components of epicardial fat, FFAs may be abnormally regulated, with a potential to detrimentally modulate electro-mechanical function. The cellular mechanisms underlying such effects of FFAs are unknown. Objective: To determine the mechanisms underlying electrophysiological effects of palmitic (PA), stearic (SA) and oleic (OA) FFAs on sheep atrial myocytes. Methods: We used electrophysiological techniques, numerical simulations, biochemistry and optical imaging to examine the effects of acutely (≤ 15 min), short-term (4-6 hour) or 24-hour application of individual FFAs (10 μM) on isolated ovine left atrial myocytes (LAMs). Results: Acute and short-term incubation in FFAs resulted in no differences in passive or active properties of isolated left atrial myocytes (LAMs). 24-hour application had differential effects depending on the FFA. PA did not affect cellular passive properties but shortened (p<0.05) action potential duration at 30% repolarization (APD30). APD50 and APD80 were unchanged. SA had no effect on resting membrane potential but reduced membrane capacitance by 15% (p<0.05), and abbreviated APD at all values measured (p≤0.001). OA did not significantly affect passive or active properties of LAMs. Measurement of the major voltage-gated ion channels in SA treated LAMs showed a ~60% reduction (p<0.01) of the L-type calcium current (ICa-L) and ~30% reduction (p<0.05) in the transient outward potassium current (ITO). A human atrial cell model recapitulated SA effects on APD. Optical imaging showed that SA incubated for 24 hours altered t-tubular structure in isolated cells (p<0.0001). Conclusions: SA disrupts t-tubular architecture and remodels properties of membrane ionic currents in sheep atrial myocytes, with potential implications in arrhythmogenesis.
    Full-text · Article · Aug 2015 · PLoS ONE
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    ABSTRACT: Little is known about the mechanisms underlying the transition from paroxysmal to persistent atrial fibrillation (AF). In an ovine model of long-standing persistent AF (LS-PAF) we tested the hypothesis that the rate of electrical and/or structural remodeling, assessed by dominant frequency (DF) changes, determines the time at which AF becomes persistent. Self-sustained AF was induced by atrial tachypacing. Seven sheep were sacrificed 11.5±2.3 days after the transition to persistent AF and without reversal to sinus rhythm (SR); 7 sheep were sacrificed after 341.3±16.7 days of LS-PAF. Seven sham-operated animals were in SR for 1 year. DF was monitored continuously in each group. RT-PCR, western blotting, patch-clamping and histological analyses were used to determine changes in functional ion channel expression and structural remodeling. Atrial dilatation, mitral valve regurgitation, myocyte hypertrophy, and atrial fibrosis occurred progressively and became statistically significant after the transition to persistent AF, with no evidence for left ventricular dysfunction. DF increased progressively during the paroxysmal-to-persistent AF transition and stabilized when AF became persistent. Importantly, the rate of DF increase (dDF/dt) correlated strongly with the time to persistent AF. Significant action potential duration (APD) abbreviation, secondary to functional ion channel protein expression changes (CaV1.2, NaV1.5 and KV4.2 decrease; Kir2.3 increase), was already present at the transition and persisted for one-year follow up. In the sheep model of LS-PAF, the rate of DF increase predicts the time at which AF stabilizes and becomes persistent, reflecting changes in APD and densities of sodium, L-type calcium and inward rectifier currents.
    Full-text · Article · Jan 2014 · Circulation
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    ABSTRACT: BACKGROUND: Persistent atrial fibrillation (PAF) results in electromechanical and structural remodeling by mechanisms that are poorly understood. Myofibroblast proliferation and fibrosis is a major source of structural remodeling in PAF. Myofibroblasts also interact with atrial myocytes via direct physical contact and release of signaling molecules that may contribute to remodeling. OBJECTIVE: To determine whether myofibroblasts contribute to atrial myocyte electromechanical remodeling via direct physical contact and platelet-derived growth factor (PDGF) signaling. METHODS AND RESULTS: Myofibroblasts and myocytes from adult sheep atria were co-cultured for 24 hours. Myocytes making contact with myofibroblasts demonstrated significant reduction (p≤0.05) in L-type calcium (ICa,L) peak current density, shortening of action potential duration (APD)and reduction in calcium transients. These effects were blocked by pre-treatment with neutralizing PDGF-AB antibody (N-ab). Heterocellular contact also severely disturbed the localization of the L-type calcium channel. Exposure of adult sheep atrial myocytes to 1ng/ml recombinant PDGF-AB peptide for 24 hours reduced both APD50 and APD80 (p≤0.05). Peak ICa,L was reduced as well. Pretreatment with N-ab prevented these effects. Finally, while control atrial myocytes did not respond 1:1 to pacing frequencies >3 Hz, atrial myocytes from hearts that were tachypaced for 2 months and normal myocytes treated with PDGF-AB for 24 hrs could be paced at 10 Hz. CONCLUSION: In addition to leading to fibrosis, atrial myofibroblasts contribute to electromechanical remodeling of myocytes via direct physical contact and release of PDGF-AB, which may be a factor in PAF induced remodeling.
    Full-text · Article · Mar 2013 · Heart rhythm: the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society
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    ABSTRACT: AIMS: Collecting electrophysiological and molecular data from the murine conduction system presents technical challenges. We have developed an approach for the isolation of murine Purkinje cells (PCs), characterized the major ionic currents and use the ionic data to simulate action potentials (APs) recorded from the isolated PCs. METHODS AND RESULTS: Light microscopy was used to isolate and identify PCs from apical and septal cells. Current and voltage clamp techniques were used to record APs and whole cell currents. We simulated a PC action potential, based on our experimental data. APs recorded from PCs were significantly longer than those recorded from ventricular cells. The prominent plateau phase of the PC AP was very negative (~-40mV). Spontaneous activity was observed only in PCs. The inward rectifier current, I(K1), demonstrated no significant differences compared to ventricular myocytes (VMs). However, sodium current density was larger, and the voltage-gated potassium current (I(to)) density was significantly less in PCs compared to myocytes. T-Type Ca(2+) currents (I(Ca-T)) were present in PCs but not VMs. Computer simulations suggest that I(Ca-T) and cytosolic calcium diffusion significantly modulate AP profile recorded in PCs, as compared to VMs. CONCLUSIONS: Our study provides the first comprehensive ionic profile of murine PCs. The data show unique features of PC ionic mechanisms that govern its excitation process. Experimental data and numerical modeling results suggest that a smaller I(to) and the presence of the I(Ca-T) are important determinants of the longer and relatively negative plateau phase of the APs.
    No preview · Article · Oct 2012 · Heart rhythm: the official journal of the Heart Rhythm Society
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    ABSTRACT: Rationale: Kv1.5 (KCNA5) is expressed in the heart, where it underlies the I(Kur) current that controls atrial repolarization, and in the pulmonary vasculature, where it regulates vessel contractility in response to changes in oxygen tension. Atrial fibrillation and hypoxic pulmonary hypertension are characterized by downregulation of Kv1.5 protein expression, as well as with oxidative stress. Formation of sulfenic acid on cysteine residues of proteins is an important, dynamic mechanism for protein regulation under oxidative stress. Kv1.5 is widely reported to be redox-sensitive, and the channel possesses 6 potentially redox-sensitive intracellular cysteines. We therefore hypothesized that sulfenic acid modification of the channel itself may regulate Kv1.5 in response to oxidative stress. Objective: To investigate how oxidative stress, via redox-sensitive modification of the channel with sulfenic acid, regulates trafficking and expression of Kv1.5. Methods and results: Labeling studies with the sulfenic acid-specific probe DAz and horseradish peroxidase-streptavidin Western blotting demonstrated a global increase in sulfenic acid-modified proteins in human patients with atrial fibrillation, as well as sulfenic acid modification to Kv1.5 in the heart. Further studies showed that Kv1.5 is modified with sulfenic acid on a single COOH-terminal cysteine (C581), and the level of sulfenic acid increases in response to oxidant exposure. Using live-cell immunofluorescence and whole-cell voltage-clamping, we found that modification of this cysteine is necessary and sufficient to reduce channel surface expression, promote its internalization, and block channel recycling back to the cell surface. Moreover, Western blotting demonstrated that sulfenic acid modification is a trigger for channel degradation under prolonged oxidative stress. Conclusions: Sulfenic acid modification to proteins, which is elevated in diseased human heart, regulates Kv1.5 channel surface expression and stability under oxidative stress and diverts channel from a recycling pathway to degradation. This provides a molecular mechanism linking oxidative stress and downregulation of channel expression observed in cardiovascular diseases.
    No preview · Article · Jul 2012 · Circulation Research
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    Full-text · Article · Nov 2011 · Heart Rhythm
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    ABSTRACT: We examined the impact of coexpressing the inwardly rectifying potassium channel, Kir2.3, with the scaffolding protein, synapse-associated protein (SAP) 97, and determined that coexpression of these proteins caused an approximately twofold increase in current density. A combination of techniques was used to determine if the SAP97-induced increase in Kir2.3 whole cell currents resulted from changes in the number of channels in the cell membrane, unitary channel conductance, or channel open probability. In the absence of SAP97, Kir2.3 was found predominantly in a cytoplasmic, vesicular compartment with relatively little Kir2.3 localized to the plasma membrane. The introduction of SAP97 caused a redistribution of Kir2.3, leading to prominent colocalization of Kir2.3 and SAP97 and a modest increase in cell surface Kir2.3. The median Kir2.3 single channel conductance in the absence of SAP97 was approximately 13 pS, whereas coexpression of SAP97 led to a wide distribution of channel events with three distinct peaks centered at 16, 29, and 42 pS. These changes occurred without altering channel open probability, current rectification properties, or pH sensitivity. Thus association of Kir2.3 with SAP97 in HEK293 cells increased channel cell surface expression and unitary channel conductance. However, changes in single channel conductance play the major role in determining whole cell currents in this model system. We further suggest that the SAP97 effect results from SAP97 binding to the Kir2.3 COOH-terminal domain and altering channel conformation.
    No preview · Article · Aug 2009 · AJP Heart and Circulatory Physiology
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    ABSTRACT: The mechanisms controlling the rotation frequency of functional reentry in ventricular fibrillation (VF) are poorly understood. It has been previously shown that Ba2+ at concentrations up to 50 mumol/L slows the rotation frequency in the intact guinea pig (GP) heart, suggesting a role of the inward rectifier current (I(K1)) in the mechanism governing the VF response to Ba2+. Given that other biological (e.g., sinoatrial node) and artificial systems display phase-locking behavior, we hypothesized that the mechanism for controlling the rotation frequency of a rotor by I(K1) blockade is phase-driven, i.e., the phase shift between transmembrane current and voltage remains constant at varying levels of I(K1) blockade. We measured whole-cell admittance in isolated GP myocytes and in transfected human embryonic kidney (HEK) cells stably expressing Kir 2.1 and 2.3 channels. The admittance phase, i.e., the phase difference between current and voltage, was plotted versus the frequency in control conditions and at 10 or 50 micromol/L Ba2+ (in GP heart cells) or 1 mM Ba2+ (in HEK cells). The horizontal distance between plots was called the "frequency shift in a single cell" and analyzed. The frequency shift in a single cell was -14.14 +/- 5.71 Hz (n = 14) at 10 microM Ba2+ and -18.51 +/- 4.00 Hz (n = 10) at 50 microM Ba2+, p < 0.05. The values perfectly matched the Ba2+-induced reduction of VF frequency observed previously in GP heart. A similar relationship was found in the computer simulations. The phase of Ba2+-sensitive admittance in GP cells was -2.65 +/- 0.32 rad at 10 Hz and -2.79 +/- 0.26 rad at 30 Hz. In HEK cells, the phase of Ba2+-sensitive admittance was 3.09 +/- 0.03 rad at 10 Hz and 3.00 +/- 0.17 rad at 30 Hz. We have developed a biological single-cell model of rotation-frequency control. The results show that although rotation frequency changes as a result of I(K1) blockade, the phase difference between transmembrane current and transmembrane voltage remains constant, enabling us to quantitatively predict the change of VF frequency resulting from I(K1) blockade, based on single-cell measurement.
    Full-text · Article · Apr 2009 · Biophysical Journal
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    ABSTRACT: Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (VT) is a lethal familial disease characterized by bidirectional VT, polymorphic VT, and ventricular fibrillation. Catecholaminergic polymorphic VT is caused by enhanced Ca2+ release through defective ryanodine receptor (RyR2) channels. We used epicardial and endocardial optical mapping, chemical subendocardial ablation with Lugol's solution, and patch clamping in a knockin (RyR2/RyR2(R4496C)) mouse model to investigate the arrhythmogenic mechanisms in catecholaminergic polymorphic VT. In isolated hearts, spontaneous ventricular arrhythmias occurred in 54% of 13 RyR2/RyR2(R4496C) and in 9% of 11 wild-type (P=0.03) littermates perfused with Ca2+and isoproterenol; 66% of 12 RyR2/RyR2(R4496C) and 20% of 10 wild-type hearts perfused with caffeine and epinephrine showed arrhythmias (P=0.04). Epicardial mapping showed that monomorphic VT, bidirectional VT, and polymorphic VT manifested as concentric epicardial breakthrough patterns, suggesting a focal origin in the His-Purkinje networks of either or both ventricles. Monomorphic VT was clearly unifocal, whereas bidirectional VT was bifocal. Polymorphic VT was initially multifocal but eventually became reentrant and degenerated into ventricular fibrillation. Endocardial mapping confirmed the Purkinje fiber origin of the focal arrhythmias. Chemical ablation of the right ventricular endocardial cavity with Lugol's solution induced complete right bundle branch block and converted the bidirectional VT into monomorphic VT in 4 anesthetized RyR2/RyR2(R4496C) mice. Under current clamp, single Purkinje cells from RyR2/RyR2(R4496C) mouse hearts generated delayed afterdepolarization-induced triggered activity at lower frequencies and level of adrenergic stimulation than wild-type. Overall, the data demonstrate that the His-Purkinje system is an important source of focal arrhythmias in catecholaminergic polymorphic VT.
    Full-text · Article · Dec 2007 · Circulation Research

Publication Stats

228 Citations
62.74 Total Impact Points


  • 2012-2015
    • University of Michigan
      • • Center for Arrhythmia Research
      • • Department of Molecular and Integrative Physiology
      Ann Arbor, Michigan, United States
  • 2009
    • State University of New York Upstate Medical University
      Syracuse, New York, United States
  • 2007
    • State University of New York
      New York, New York, United States