Hysteresis in human HCN4 channels: a crucial feature potentially affecting sinoatrial node pacemaking.

Yong Fu Xiao, Natalie Chandler, Halina Dobrzynski, Eric S. Richardson, Erica M. Tenbroek, Josh Wilhelm, Vinod Sharma, Anthony Varghese, Mark R. Boyett, Paul A. Iaizzo, Daniel C. Sigg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

17 Scopus citations


The hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated (HCN) channels modulate and regulate cardiac rhythm and rate. It has been suggested that, unlike the HCN1 and HCN2 channels, the slower HCN4 channel may not exhibit voltage-dependent hysteresis. We studied the electrophysiological properties of human HCN4 (hHCN4) channels and its modulation by cAMP to determine whether hHCN4 exhibits hysteresis, by using single-cell patch-clamp in HEK293 cells stably transfected with hHCN4. Quantitative real-time RT-PCR was also used to determine levels of expression of HCNs in human cardiac tissue. Voltage-clamp analysis revealed that hHCN4 current (I(h)) activation shifted in the depolarizing direction with more hyperpolarized holding potentials. Triangular ramp and action potential clamp protocols also revealed hHCN4 hysteresis. cAMP enhanced I(h) and shifted activation in the depolarizing direction, thus modifying the intrinsic hHCN4 hysteresis behavior. Quantitative PCR analysis of human sinoatrial node (SAN) tissue showed that HCN4 accounts for 75% of the HCNs in human SAN while HCN1 (21%), HCN2 (3%), and HCN3 (0.7%) constitute the remainder. Our data suggest that HCN4 is the predominant HCN subtype in the human SAN and that I(h) exhibits voltage-dependent hysteresis behavior that can be modified by cAMP. Therefore, hHCN4 hysteresis potentially plays a crucial role in human SAN pacemaking activity.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1-13
Number of pages13
JournalSheng li xue bao : [Acta physiologica Sinica]
Issue number1
StatePublished - Feb 25 2010


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