Complex restitution behavior and reentry in a cardiac tissue model for neonatal mice


Spatiotemporal dynamics in cardiac tissue emerging from the coupling of individual cardiomyocytes underlie the heart’s normal rhythm as well as undesired and possibly life-threatening arrhythmias. While single cells and their transmembrane currents have been studied extensively, systematically investigating spatiotemporal dynamics is complicated by the nontrivial relationship between single-cell and emergent tissue properties. Mathematical models have been employed to bridge this gap and contribute to a deepened understanding of the onset, development, and termination of arrhythmias. However, no such tissue-level model currently exists for neonatal mice. Here, we build on a recent single-cell model of neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes by Wang and Sobie (Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol. 294:H2565) to predict properties that are commonly used to gauge arrhythmogenicity of cardiac substrates. We modify the model to yield well-defined behavior for common experimental protocols and construct a spatially extended version to study emergent tissue dynamics. We find a complex action potential duration (APD) restitution behavior characterized by a nonmonotonic dependence on pacing frequency. Electrotonic coupling in tissue leads not only to changes in action potential morphology but can also induce spatially concordant and discordant alternans not observed in the single-cell model. In two-dimensional tissue, our results show that the model supports stable functional reentry, whose frequency is in good agreement with that observed in adult mice. Our results can be used to further constrain and validate the mathematical model of neonatal mouse cardiomyocytes with future experiments.

Physiological Reports 5: e13449