Alk7 Depleted Mice Exhibit Prolonged Cardiac Repolarization and Are Predisposed to Ventricular Arrhythmia.
ABSTRACT: We aimed to investigate the role of activin receptor-like kinase (ALK7) in regulating cardiac electrophysiology. Here, we showed that Alk7-/- mice exhibited prolonged QT intervals in telemetry ECG recordings. Furthermore, Langendorff-perfused Alk7-/- hearts had significantly longer action potential duration (APD) and greater incidence of ventricular arrhythmia (AV) induced by burst pacing. Using whole-cell patch clamp, we found that the densities of repolarizing K+ currents Ito and IK1 were profoundly reduced in Alk7-/- ventricular cardiomyocytes. Mechanistically, the expression of Kv4.2 (a major subunit of Ito carrying channel) and KCHIP2 (a key accessory subunit of Ito carrying channel), was markedly decreased in Alk7-/- hearts. These findings suggest that endogenous expression of ALK7 is necessary to maintain repolarizing K+ currents in ventricular cardiomyocytes, and finally prevent action potential prolongation and ventricular arrhythmia.
Project description:Gradients of the fast transient outward K+ current (Ito,f) contribute to heterogeneity of ventricular repolarization in a number of species. Cardiac Ito,f levels and gradients change notably with heart disease. Human cardiac Ito,f appears to be encoded by the Kv4.3 pore-forming ?-subunit plus the auxiliary KChIP2 ?-subunit while mouse cardiac Ito,f requires Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 ?-subunits plus KChIP2. Regional differences in cardiac Ito,f are associated with expression differences in Kv4.2 and KChIP2. Although Ito,f was reported to be absent in mouse ventricular cardiomyocytes lacking the Kv4.2 gene (Kv4.2-/-) when short depolarizing voltage pulses were used to activate voltage-gated K+ currents, in the present study, we showed that the use of long depolarization steps revealed a heteropodatoxin-sensitive Ito,f (at ~40% of the wild-type levels). Immunohistological studies further demonstrated membrane expression of Kv4.3 in Kv4.2-/- cardiomyocytes. Transmural Ito,f gradients across the left ventricular wall were reduced by ~3.5-fold in Kv4.2-/- heart, compared to wild-type. The Ito,f gradient in Kv4.2-/- hearts was associated with gradients in KChIP2 mRNA expression while in wild-type there was also a gradient in Kv4.2 expression. In conclusion, we found that Kv4.3-based Ito,f exists in the absence of Kv4.2, although with a reduced transmural gradient. Kv4.2-/- mice may be a useful animal model for studying Kv4.3-based Ito,f as observed in humans.
Project description:The mechanisms underlying chronic kidney disease (CKD)-associated higher risks for life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias remain poorly understood. In rats subjected to unilateral nephrectomy (UNx), we examined cardiac electrophysiological remodeling and relevant mechanisms predisposing to ventricular arrhythmias. Adult male Sprague-Dawley rats underwent UNx (n?=?6) or sham (n?=?6) operations. Eight weeks later, the UNx group had higher serum blood urea nitrogen and creatinine levels and a longer electrocardiographic QTc interval than did the sham group. Patch-clamp studies revealed epicardial (EPI)-predominant prolongation of the action potential duration (APD) at 50% and 90% repolarization in UNx EPI cardiomyocytes compared to sham EPI cardiomyocytes. A significant reduction of the transient outward potassium current (Ito) in EPI but not in endocardial (ENDO) cardiomyocytes of UNx rats led to a decreased transmural gradient of Ito. The reduction of Ito currents in UNx EPI cardiomyocytes was secondary to downregulation of KChIP2 but not Kv4.2, Kv4.3, and Kv1.4 protein expression. Incubation of plasma electronegative low-density lipoprotein (LDL) from UNx rats with normal EPI and ENDO cardiomyocytes recapitulated the electrophysiological phenotype of UNx rats. In conclusion, CKD disrupts the physiological transmural gradient of Ito via downregulation of KChIP2 proteins in the EPI region, which may promote susceptibility to ventricular tachyarrhythmias. Electronegative LDL may underlie downregulation of KChIP2 in CKD.
Project description:Arrhythmogenesis from aberrant electrical remodeling is a primary cause of death among patients with heart disease. Amongst a multitude of remodeling events, reduced expression of the ion channel subunit KChIP2 is consistently observed in numerous cardiac pathologies. However, it remains unknown if KChIP2 loss is merely a symptom or involved in disease development. Using rat and human derived cardiomyocytes, we identify a previously unobserved transcriptional capacity for cardiac KChIP2 critical in maintaining electrical stability. Through interaction with genetic elements, KChIP2 transcriptionally repressed the miRNAs miR-34b and miR-34c, which subsequently targeted key depolarizing (INa) and repolarizing (Ito) currents altered in cardiac disease. Genetically maintaining KChIP2 expression or inhibiting miR-34 under pathologic conditions restored channel function and moreover, prevented the incidence of reentrant arrhythmias. This identifies the KChIP2/miR-34 axis as a central regulator in developing electrical dysfunction and reveals miR-34 as a therapeutic target for treating arrhythmogenesis in heart disease.
Project description:Cardiac ion channels and their respective accessory subunits are critical in maintaining proper electrical activity of the heart. Studies have indicated that the K+ channel interacting protein 2 (KChIP2), originally identified as an auxiliary subunit for the channel Kv4, a component of the transient outward K+ channel (Ito), is a Ca2+ binding protein whose regulatory function does not appear restricted to Kv4 modulation. Indeed, the guinea pig myocardium does not express Kv4, yet we show that it still maintains expression of KChIP2, suggesting roles for KChIP2 beyond this canonical auxiliary interaction with Kv4 to modulate Ito. In this study, we capitalize on the guinea pig as a system for investigating how KChIP2 influences the cardiac action potential, independent of effects otherwise attributed to Ito, given the endogenous absence of the current in this species. By performing whole cell patch clamp recordings on isolated adult guinea pig myocytes, we observe that knock down of KChIP2 significantly prolongs the cardiac action potential. This prolongation was not attributed to compromised repolarizing currents, as IKr and IKs were unchanged, but was the result of enhanced L-type Ca2+ current due to an increase in Cav1.2 protein. In addition, cells with reduced KChIP2 also displayed lowered INa from reduced Nav1.5 protein. Historically, rodent models have been used to investigate the role of KChIP2, where dramatic changes to the primary repolarizing current Ito may mask more subtle effects of KChIP2. Evaluation in the guinea pig where Ito is absent, has unveiled additional functions for KChIP2 beyond its canonical regulation of Ito, which defines KChIP2 as a master regulator of cardiac repolarization and depolarization.
Project description:The transient outward current (Ito) in cardiomyocytes is largely mediated by Kv4 channels associated with Kv Channel Interacting Protein 2 (KChIP2). A knockout model has documented the critical role of KChIP2 in Ito expression. The present study was conducted to characterize in both sexes the dependence of Ito properties, including current magnitude, inactivation kinetics, recovery from inactivation and voltage dependence of inactivation, on the number of functional KChIP2 alleles. For this purpose we performed whole-cell patch-clamp experiments on isolated left ventricular cardiomyocytes from male and female mice which had different KChIP2 genotypes; i.e., wild-type (KChIP2+/+), heterozygous knockout (KChIP2+/-) or complete knockout of KChIP2 (KChIP2-/-). We found in both sexes a KChIP2 gene dosage effect (i.e., a proportionality between number of alleles and phenotype) on Ito magnitude, however, concerning other Ito properties, KChIP2+/- resembled KChIP2+/+. Only in the total absence of KChIP2 (KChIP2-/-) we observed a slowing of Ito kinetics, a slowing of recovery from inactivation and a negative shift of a portion of the voltage dependence of inactivation. In a minor fraction of KChIP2-/- myocytes Ito was completely lost. The distinct KChIP2 genotype dependences of Ito magnitude and inactivation kinetics, respectively, seen in cardiomyocytes were reproduced with two-electrode voltage-clamp experiments on Xenopus oocytes expressing Kv4.2 and different amounts of KChIP2. Our results corroborate the critical role of KChIP2 in controlling Ito properties. They demonstrate that the Kv4.2/KChIP2 interaction in cardiomyocytes is highly dynamic, with a clear KChIP2 gene dosage effect on Kv4 channel surface expression but not on inactivation gating.
Project description:Background: Hypothyroidism, the most common endocrine disease, induces cardiac electrical remodeling that creates a substrate for ventricular arrhythmias. Recent studies report that high thyrotropin (TSH) levels are related to cardiac electrical abnormalities and increased mortality rates. The aim of the present work was to investigate the direct effects of TSH on the heart and its possible causative role in the increased incidence of arrhythmia in hypothyroidism. Methods: A new rat model of central hypothyroidism (low TSH levels) was created and characterized together with the classical propylthiouracil-induced primary hypothyroidism model (high TSH levels). Electrocardiograms were recorded in vivo, and ionic currents were recorded from isolated ventricular myocytes in vitro by the patch-clamp technique. Protein and mRNA were measured by Western blot and quantitative reverse transcription polymerase chain reaction in rat and human cardiac myocytes. Adult human action potentials were simulated in silico to incorporate the experimentally observed changes. Results: Both primary and central hypothyroidism models increased the L-type Ca2+ current (ICa-L) and decreased the ultra-rapid delayed rectifier K+ current (IKur) densities. However, only primary but not central hypothyroidism showed electrocardiographic repolarization abnormalities and increased ventricular arrhythmia incidence during caffeine/dobutamine challenge. These changes were paralleled by a decrease in the density of the transient outward K+ current (Ito) in cardiomyocytes from animals with primary but not central hypothyroidism. In vitro treatment with TSH for 24 hours enhanced isoproterenol-induced spontaneous activity in control ventricular cells and diminished Ito density in cardiomyocytes from control and central but not primary hypothyroidism animals. In human myocytes, TSH decreased the expression of KCND3 and KCNQ1, Ito, and the delayed rectifier K+ current (IKs) encoding proteins in a protein kinase A-dependent way. Transposing the changes produced by hypothyroidism and TSH to a computer model of human ventricular action potential resulted in enhanced occurrence of early afterdepolarizations and arrhythmia mostly in primary hypothyroidism, especially under β-adrenergic stimulation. Conclusions: The results suggest that suppression of repolarizing K+ currents by TSH underlies most of the electrical remodeling observed in hypothyroidism. This work demonstrates that the activation of the TSH-receptor/protein kinase A pathway in the heart is responsible for the cardiac electrical remodeling and arrhythmia generation seen in hypothyroidism.
Project description:Kv4 pore-forming subunits co-assemble with ?-subunits including KChIP2 and DPP6 and the resultant complexes conduct cardiac transient outward K+ current (Ito). Compound NS5806 has been shown to potentate Ito in canine cardiomyocytes; however, its effects on Ito in other species yet to be determined. We found that NS5806 inhibited native Ito in a concentration-dependent manner (0.1~30 ?M) in both mouse ventricular cardiomyocytes and human-induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CMs), but potentiated Ito in the canine cardiomyocytes. In HEK293 cells co-transfected with cloned Kv4.3 (or Kv4.2) and ?-subunit KChIP2, NS5806 significantly increased the peak current amplitude and slowed the inactivation. In contrast, NS5806 suppressed the current and accelerated inactivation of the channels when cells were co-transfected with Kv4.3 (or Kv4.2), KChIP2 and another ?-subunit, DPP6-L (long isoform). Western blot analysis showed that DPP6-L was dominantly expressed in both mouse ventricular myocardium and hiPSC-CMs, while it was almost undetectable in canine ventricular myocardium. In addition, low level of DPP6-S expression was found in canine heart, whereas levels of KChIP2 expression were comparable among all three species. siRNA knockdown of DPP6 antagonized the Ito inhibition by NS5806 in hiPSC-CMs. Molecular docking simulation suggested that DPP6-L may associate with KChIP2 subunits. Mutations of putative KChIP2-interacting residues of DPP6-L reversed the inhibitory effect of NS5806 into potentiation of the current. We conclude that a pharmacological modulator can elicit opposite regulatory effects on Kv4 channel complex among different species, depending on the presence of distinct ?-subunits. These findings provide novel insight into the molecular design and regulation of cardiac Ito. Since Ito is a potential therapeutic target for treatment of multiple cardiovascular diseases, our data will facilitate the development of new therapeutic Ito modulators.
Project description:Inherited dilated cardiomyopathy (DCM) is characterized by dilatation and dysfunction of the ventricles, and often results in sudden death or heart failure (HF). Although angiotensin receptor blockers (ARBs) have been used for the treatment of HF, little is known about the effects on postulated electrical remodeling that occurs in inherited DCM. The aim of this study was to examine the effects of candesartan, one of the ARBs, on cardiac function and electrical remodeling in the hearts of inherited DCM model mice (TNNT2 ?K210). DCM mice were treated with candesartan in drinking water for 2 months from 1 month of age. Control, non-treated DCM mice showed an enlargement of the heart with prolongation of QRS and QT intervals, and died at t1/2 of 70 days. Candesartan dramatically extended the lifespan of DCM mice, suppressed cardiac dilatation, and improved the functional parameters of the myocardium. It also greatly suppressed prolongation of QRS and QT intervals and action potential duration (APD) in the left ventricular myocardium and occurrence of ventricular arrhythmia. Expression analysis revealed that down-regulation of Kv4.2 (Ito channel protein), KChIP2 (auxiliary subunit of Kv4.2), and Kv1.5 (IKur channel protein) in DCM was partially reversed by candesartan administration. Interestingly, non-treated DCM heart had both normal-sized myocytes with moderately decreased Ito and IKur and enlarged cells with greatly reduced K+ currents (Ito, IKur IK1 and Iss). Treatment with candesartan completely abrogated the emergence of the enlarged cells but did not reverse the Ito, and IKur in normal-sized cells in DCM hearts. Our results indicate that candesartan treatment suppresses structural remodeling to prevent severe electrical remodeling in inherited DCM.
Project description:SMO (Smoothened), the central transducer of Hedgehog signaling, is coupled to heterotrimeric Gi proteins in many cell types, including cardiomyocytes. In this study, we report that activation of SMO with SHH (Sonic Hedgehog) or a small agonist, purmorphamine, rapidly causes a prolongation of the action potential duration that is sensitive to a SMO inhibitor. In contrast, neither of the SMO agonists prolonged the action potential in cardiomyocytes from transgenic GiCT/TTA mice, in which Gi signaling is impaired, suggesting that the effect of SMO is mediated by Gi proteins. Investigation of the mechanism underlying the change in action potential kinetics revealed that activation of SMO selectively reduces outward voltage-gated K+ repolarizing (Kv) currents in isolated cardiomyocytes and that it induces a down-regulation of membrane levels of Kv4.3 in cardiomyocytes and intact hearts from WT but not from GiCT/TTA mice. Moreover, perfusion of intact hearts with Shh or purmorphamine increased the ventricular repolarization time (QT interval) and induced ventricular arrhythmias. Our data constitute the first report that acute, noncanonical Hh signaling mediated by Gi proteins regulates K+ currents density in cardiomyocytes and sensitizes the heart to the development of ventricular arrhythmias.
Project description:The ability to recapitulate mature adult phenotypes is critical to the development of human induced pluripotent stem cell-derived cardiomyocytes (hiPSC-CM) as models of disease. The present study examines the characteristics of the transient outward current (Ito) and its contribution to the hiPSC-CM action potential (AP).Embryoid bodies were made from a hiPS cell line reprogrammed with Oct4, Nanog, Lin28 and Sox2. Sharp microelectrodes were used to record APs from beating-clusters (BC) and patch-clamp techniques were used to record Ito in single hiPSC-CM. mRNA levels of Kv1.4, KChIP2 and Kv4.3 were quantified from BCs.BCs exhibited spontaneous beating (60.5±2.6 bpm) and maximum-diastolic-potential (MDP) of 67.8±0.8 mV (n=155). A small 4-aminopyridine-sensitive phase-1-repolarization was observed in only 6/155 BCs. A robust Ito was recorded in the majority of cells (13.7±1.9 pA/pF at +40 mV; n=14). Recovery of Ito from inactivation (at -80 mV) showed slow kinetics (?1=200±110 ms (12%) and ?2=2380±240 ms (80%)) accounting for its minimal contribution to the AP. Transcript data revealed relatively high expression of Kv1.4 and low expression of KChIP2 compared to human native ventricular tissues. Mathematical modeling predicted that restoration of IK1 to normal levels would result in a more negative MDP and a prominent phase-1-repolarization.The slow recovery kinetics of Ito coupled with a depolarized MDP account for the lack of an AP notch in the majority of hiPSC-CM. These characteristics reveal a deficiency for the development of in vitro models of inherited cardiac arrhythmia syndromes in which Ito-induced AP notch is central to the disease phenotype.