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Ca2+-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 Ca2+overload. The main hypothesis as to their initiation has been Ca2+overflow from the overloaded sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR). Our results using 37 previously published mathematical models provide evidence that Ca2+-induced DADs are initiated by the same mechanism as Ca2+-induced Ca2+release, i.e., the modulation of the opening of ryanodine receptors (RyR) by Ca2+in the dyadic subspace; an SR overflow mechanism was not necessary for the induction of DADs in any of the models. The SR Ca2+level is better viewed as a modulator of the appearance of DADs and the magnitude of Ca2+release. The threshold for the total Ca2+level within the cell (not only the SR) at which Ca2+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 Ca2+-ATPase (SERCA) pump rate (directly proportional), the opening probability of RyRs, and the Ca2+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 Ca2+levels). © 2011 the American Physiological Society.

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Journal article


American Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology

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