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Ca(2+)-induced delayed afterdepolarizations (DADs) are depolarizations that occur after full repolarization. They have been observed across multiple species and cell types. Experimental results have indicated that the main cause of DADs is Ca(2+) overload. The main hypothesis as to their initiation has been Ca(2+) overflow from the overloaded sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Our results using 37 previously published mathematical models provide evidence that Ca(2+)-induced DADs are initiated by the same mechanism as Ca(2+)-induced Ca(2+) release, i.e., the modulation of the opening of ryanodine receptors (RyR) by Ca(2+) in the dyadic subspace; an SR overflow mechanism was not necessary for the induction of DADs in any of the models. The SR Ca(2+) level is better viewed as a modulator of the appearance of DADs and the magnitude of Ca(2+) release. The threshold for the total Ca(2+) level within the cell (not only the SR) at which Ca(2+) oscillations arise in the models is close to their baseline level (∼1- to 3-fold). It is most sensitive to changes in the maximum sarco(endo)plasmic reticulum Ca(2+)-ATPase (SERCA) pump rate (directly proportional), the opening probability of RyRs, and the Ca(2+) diffusion rate from the dyadic subspace into the cytosol (both indirectly proportional), indicating that the appearance of DADs is multifactorial. This shift in emphasis away from SR overload as the trigger for DADs toward a multifactorial analysis could explain why SERCA overexpression has been shown to suppress DADs (while increasing contractility) and why DADs appear during heart failure (at low SR Ca(2+) levels).

Original publication




Journal article


Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol

Publication Date





H921 - H935


Action Potentials, Animals, Calcium, Computer Simulation, Diffusion, Excitation Contraction Coupling, Heart Failure, Humans, Kinetics, Models, Cardiovascular, Myocardial Contraction, Myocardium, Oscillometry, Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel, Sarcoplasmic Reticulum, Sarcoplasmic Reticulum Calcium-Transporting ATPases, Sodium-Calcium Exchanger