Mechanisms of arrhythmia termination during acute myocardial ischemia: Role of ephaptic coupling and complex geometry of border zone

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Myocardial ischemia occurs when blood flow to the heart is reduced, preventing the heart muscle from receiving enough oxygen required for survival. Several anatomical and electrophysiological changes occur at the ischemic core (IC) and border zone (BZ) during myocardial ischemia, for example, gap junctional remodeling, changes in ionic channel kinetics and electrophysiologic changes in cell excitability, which promote the development of cardiac arrhythmia. Ephaptic coupling (EpC), which is an electrical field effect developed in the shared cleft space between adjacent cells, has been suggested to rescue the conduction when gap junctions are impaired, such as myocardial ischemia. In this manuscript, we explored the impact of EpC, electrophysiological and anatomical components of myocardial ischemia on reentry termination during non-ischemic and ischemic condition. Our results indicated that EpC and BZ with complex geometry have opposite effects on the reentry termination. In particular, the presence of homogeneous EpC terminates reentry, whereas BZ with complex geometry alone facilitates reentry by producing wave break-up and alternating conduction block. The reentry is terminated in the presence of homogeneous or heterogeneous EpC despite the presence of complex geometry of the BZ, independent of the location of BZ. The inhibition of reentry can be attributed to a current-to-load mismatch. Our results points to an antiarrhythmic role of EpC and a pro-arrhythmic role of BZ with complex geometry.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0264570
JournalPloS one
Issue number3
StatePublished - Mar 2022

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2022 Wei, Tolkacheva. This is an open access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited.

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't


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