The goal of this Program Project is to develop novel antiarrhythmic approaches based on improved understanding of the arrhythmia mechanisms causing sudden cardiac death. Project 4 will combine biological experiments and mathematical modeling to study how the interaction between the L-type Ca curret (l{Ca,L}), the Ca{i} transient and other Ca-sensitive currents lead to early afterdepolarizations (EADs) in normal and failing ventricular myocytes (Aim 1). This analysis will then be used to guide development of therapeutic strategies to suppress EADs and EAD-mediated arrhythmias by modifying I{Ca,L} properties (Aim 2). We will utilize the dynamic patch clamp approach which permits virtual currents to be added and interact bidirectionally with the endogenous currents of a live myocyte. EADs will be induced with various interventions, and then suppressed by the Ca channel blocker nifedepine. In stages, the dynamic clamp will add back a virtual I{Ca,L} virtual Ca;transient, and other Ca-sensitive currents to determine the necessary interactions required to reconstitute EADs. Given the critical importance of the I{Ca,L} window current in EAD formation, we will use the dynamic clamp approach to explore how the kinetic and/or voltage dependent properties of I{Ca,L} can be modified to suppress "reconstituted" EADs in isolated myocytes. The normal I{Ca,L} in the dynamic clamp will be replaced with an appropriately modified virtual I{Ca,L} to identify which modifications eliminate EADs while preserving a normal Ca{i} transient (Aim 2a). Using this information, we will explore genetic modifications of I{Ca,L} in rabbit ventricular myocytes to identify interventions which suppress EADs without adversely affecting E-C coupling, using two strategies: i) genetic overexpression of ancillary Ca channel subunits to replace the corresponding native Ca channel subunits. ii) downregulation of native Ca channel subunits in the adult rabbit ventricular myocytes using appropriate viral vectors. These hybrid modeling/experimental studies promise to both advance our understanding of the mechanisms of EAD formation and identify novel antiarrhythmic strategies. Project 4 will be complemented by the modeling studies in Project 1, cellular level studies in P2, and tissue level studies in Project 3.

Public Health Relevance

Every year in the United States, 300,000 men and women succumb to sudden cardiac death due to ventricular arrhythmias. The research proposed will investigate the underlying mechanisms of these lethal arrhythmias and search for hovel therapies.

National Institute of Health (NIH)
National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute (NHLBI)
Research Program Projects (P01)
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Special Emphasis Panel (ZHL1-PPG-S)
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University of California Los Angeles
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