Publications by authors named "Rasheda A Chowdhury"

25 Publications

  • Page 1 of 1

Rotigaptide Infusion for the First 7 Days After Myocardial Infarction-Reperfusion Reduced Late Complexity of Myocardial Architecture of the Healing Border-Zone and Arrhythmia Inducibility.

J Am Heart Assoc 2021 May 17;10(9):e020006. Epub 2021 Apr 17.

National Heart & Lung Institute and ElectroCardioMaths Programme of the Imperial Centre for Cardiac EngineeringImperial College London London United Kingdom.

Background Survivors of myocardial infarction are at increased risk of late ventricular arrhythmias, with infarct size and scar heterogeneity being key determinants of arrhythmic risk. Gap junctions facilitate the passage of small ions and morphogenic cell signaling between myocytes. We hypothesized that gap junctions enhancement during infarction-reperfusion modulates structural and electrophysiological remodeling and reduces late arrhythmogenesis. Methods and Results Infarction-reperfusion surgery was carried out in male Sprague-Dawley rats followed by 7 days of rotigaptide or saline administration. The in vivo and ex vivo arrhythmogenicity was characterized by programmed electrical stimulation 3 weeks later, followed by diffusion-weighted magnetic resonance imaging and Masson's trichrome histology. Three weeks after 7-day postinfarction administration of rotigaptide, ventricular tachycardia/ventricular fibrillation was induced on programmed electrical stimulation in 20% and 53% of rats, respectively (rotigaptide versus control), resulting in reduction of arrhythmia score (3.2 versus 1.4, =0.018), associated with the reduced magnetic resonance imaging parameters fractional anisotropy (fractional anisotropy: -5% versus -15%; =0.062) and mean diffusivity (mean diffusivity: 2% versus 6%, =0.042), and remodeling of the 3-dimensional laminar structure of the infarct border zone with reduction of the mean (16° versus 19°, =0.013) and the dispersion (9° versus 12°, =0.015) of the myofiber transverse angle. There was no change in ECG features, spontaneous arrhythmias, or mortality. Conclusions Enhancement of gap junctions function by rotigaptide administered during the early healing phase in reperfused infarction reduces later complexity of infarct scar morphology and programmed electrical stimulation-induced arrhythmias, and merits further exploration as a feasible and practicable intervention in the acute myocardial infarction management to reduce late arrhythmic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/JAHA.120.020006DOI Listing
May 2021

Cross-Priming Dendritic Cells Exacerbate Immunopathology After Ischemic Tissue Damage in the Heart.

Circulation 2021 Feb 10;143(8):821-836. Epub 2020 Dec 10.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, UK (A.S., H.S.K., A.P., C.J., M.A., R.A.C., M.B., M.D.S., S.E.H., F.S.N., N.R., S.S.).

Background: Ischemic heart disease is a leading cause of heart failure and despite advanced therapeutic options, morbidity and mortality rates remain high. Although acute inflammation in response to myocardial cell death has been extensively studied, subsequent adaptive immune activity and anti-heart autoimmunity may also contribute to the development of heart failure. After ischemic injury to the myocardium, dendritic cells (DC) respond to cardiomyocyte necrosis, present cardiac antigen to T cells, and potentially initiate a persistent autoimmune response against the heart. Cross-priming DC have the ability to activate both CD4 helper and CD8 cytotoxic T cells in response to necrotic cells and may thus be crucial players in exacerbating autoimmunity targeting the heart. This study investigates a role for cross-priming DC in post-myocardial infarction immunopathology through presentation of self-antigen from necrotic cardiac cells to cytotoxic CD8 T cells.

Methods: We induced type 2 myocardial infarction-like ischemic injury in the heart by treatment with a single high dose of the β-adrenergic agonist isoproterenol. We characterized the DC population in the heart and mediastinal lymph nodes and analyzed long-term cardiac immunopathology and functional decline in wild type and -depleted mice lacking DC cross-priming function.

Results: A diverse DC population, including cross-priming DC, is present in the heart and activated after ischemic injury. mice deficient in DC cross-priming are protected from persistent immune-mediated myocardial damage and decline of cardiac function, likely because of dampened activation of cytotoxic CD8 T cells.

Conclusion: Activation of cytotoxic CD8 T cells by cross-priming DC contributes to exacerbation of postischemic inflammatory damage of the myocardium and corresponding decline in cardiac function. Importantly, this provides novel therapeutic targets to prevent postischemic immunopathology and heart failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.120.044581DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7899721PMC
February 2021

Development of a pro-arrhythmic ex vivo intact human and porcine model: cardiac electrophysiological changes associated with cellular uncoupling.

Pflugers Arch 2020 10 1;472(10):1435-1446. Epub 2020 Sep 1.

Faculty of Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0NN, UK.

We describe a human and large animal Langendorff experimental apparatus for live electrophysiological studies and measure the electrophysiological changes due to gap junction uncoupling in human and porcine hearts. The resultant ex vivo intact human and porcine model can bridge the translational gap between smaller simple laboratory models and clinical research. In particular, electrophysiological models would benefit from the greater myocardial mass of a large heart due to its effects on far-field signal, electrode contact issues and motion artefacts, consequently more closely mimicking the clinical setting. Porcine (n = 9) and human (n = 4) donor hearts were perfused on a custom-designed Langendorff apparatus. Epicardial electrograms were collected at 16 sites across the left atrium and left ventricle. A total of 1 mM of carbenoxolone was administered at 5 ml/min to induce cellular uncoupling, and then recordings were repeated at the same sites. Changes in electrogram characteristics were analysed. We demonstrate the viability of a controlled ex vivo model of intact porcine and human hearts for electrophysiology with pharmacological modulation. Carbenoxolone reduces cellular coupling and changes contact electrogram features. The time from stimulus artefact to (-dV/dt) increased between baseline and carbenoxolone (47.9 ± 4.1-67.2 ± 2.7 ms) indicating conduction slowing. The features with the largest percentage change between baseline and carbenoxolone were fractionation + 185.3%, endpoint amplitude - 106.9%, S-endpoint gradient + 54.9%, S point - 39.4%, RS ratio + 38.6% and (-dV/dt) - 20.9%. The physiological relevance of this methodological tool is that it provides a model to further investigate pharmacologically induced pro-arrhythmic substrates.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s00424-020-02446-6DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7476990PMC
October 2020

Mediastinal Lymphadenopathy, Class-Switched Auto-Antibodies and Myocardial Immune-Complexes During Heart Failure in Rodents and Humans.

Front Cell Dev Biol 2020 7;8:695. Epub 2020 Aug 7.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Mediastinal lymphadenopathy and auto-antibodies are clinical phenomena during ischemic heart failure pointing to an autoimmune response against the heart. T and B cells have been convincingly demonstrated to be activated after myocardial infarction, a prerequisite for the generation of mature auto-antibodies. Yet, little is known about the immunoglobulin isotype repertoire thus pathological potential of anti-heart auto-antibodies during heart failure. We obtained human myocardial tissue from ischemic heart failure patients and induced experimental MI in rats. We found that anti-heart autoimmunity persists during heart failure. Rat mediastinal lymph nodes are enlarged and contain active secondary follicles with mature isotype-switched IgG2a B cells. Mature IgG2a auto-antibodies specific for cardiac antigens are present in rat heart failure serum, and IgG and complement C3 deposits are evident in heart failure tissue of both rats and human patients. Previously established myocardial inflammation, and the herein provided proof of B cell maturation in lymph nodes and myocardial deposition of mature auto-antibodies, provide all the hallmark signs of an established autoimmune response in chronic heart failure.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcell.2020.00695DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7426467PMC
August 2020

Nanoscale regulation of L-type calcium channels differentiates between ischemic and dilated cardiomyopathies.

EBioMedicine 2020 Jul 21;57:102845. Epub 2020 Jun 21.

Department of Cardiovascular Sciences, Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London W120NN, UK. Electronic address:

Background: Subcellular localization and function of L-type calcium channels (LTCCs) play an important role in regulating contraction of cardiomyocytes. Understanding how this is affected by the disruption of transverse tubules during heart failure could lead to new insights into the disease.

Methods: Cardiomyocytes were isolated from healthy donor hearts, as well as from patients with cardiomyopathies and with left ventricular assist devices. Scanning ion conductance and confocal microscopy was used to study membrane structures in the cells. Super-resolution scanning patch-clamp was used to examine LTCC function in different microdomains. Computational modeling predicted the impact of these changes to arrhythmogenesis at the whole-heart level.

Findings: We showed that loss of structural organization in failing myocytes leads to re-distribution of functional LTCCs from the T-tubules to the sarcolemma. In ischemic cardiomyopathy, the increased LTCC open probability in the T-tubules depends on the phosphorylation by protein kinase A, whereas in dilated cardiomyopathy, the increased LTCC opening probability in the sarcolemma results from enhanced phosphorylation by calcium-calmodulin kinase II. LVAD implantation corrected LTCCs pathophysiological activity, although it did not improve their distribution. Using computational modeling in a 3D anatomically-realistic human ventricular model, we showed how LTCC location and activity can trigger heart rhythm disorders of different severity.

Interpretation: Our findings demonstrate that LTCC redistribution and function differentiate between disease aetiologies. The subcellular changes observed in specific microdomains could be the consequence of the action of distinct protein kinases.

Funding: This work was supported by NIH grant (ROI-HL 126802 to NT-JG) and British Heart Foundation (grant RG/17/13/33173 to JG, project grant PG/16/17/32069 to RAC). Funders had no role in study design, data collection, data analysis, interpretation, writing of the report.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.ebiom.2020.102845DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7317229PMC
July 2020

Ventricular fibrillation mechanism and global fibrillatory organization are determined by gap junction coupling and fibrosis pattern.

Cardiovasc Res 2021 Mar;117(4):1078-1090

National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, 4th Floor, ICTEM Building, 72 Du Cane Road, London W12 0NN, UK.

Aims: Conflicting data exist supporting differing mechanisms for sustaining ventricular fibrillation (VF), ranging from disorganized multiple-wavelet activation to organized rotational activities (RAs). Abnormal gap junction (GJ) coupling and fibrosis are important in initiation and maintenance of VF. We investigated whether differing ventricular fibrosis patterns and the degree of GJ coupling affected the underlying VF mechanism.

Methods And Results: Optical mapping of 65 Langendorff-perfused rat hearts was performed to study VF mechanisms in control hearts with acute GJ modulation, and separately in three differing chronic ventricular fibrosis models; compact fibrosis (CF), diffuse fibrosis (DiF), and patchy fibrosis (PF). VF dynamics were quantified with phase mapping and frequency dominance index (FDI) analysis, a power ratio of the highest amplitude dominant frequency in the cardiac frequency spectrum. Enhanced GJ coupling with rotigaptide (n = 10) progressively organized fibrillation in a concentration-dependent manner; increasing FDI (0 nM: 0.53 ± 0.04, 80 nM: 0.78 ± 0.03, P < 0.001), increasing RA-sustained VF time (0 nM: 44 ± 6%, 80 nM: 94 ± 2%, P < 0.001), and stabilized RAs (maximum rotations for an RA; 0 nM: 5.4 ± 0.5, 80 nM: 48.2 ± 12.3, P < 0.001). GJ uncoupling with carbenoxolone progressively disorganized VF; the FDI decreased (0 µM: 0.60 ± 0.05, 50 µM: 0.17 ± 0.03, P < 0.001) and RA-sustained VF time decreased (0 µM: 61 ± 9%, 50 µM: 3 ± 2%, P < 0.001). In CF, VF activity was disorganized and the RA-sustained VF time was the lowest (CF: 27 ± 7% vs. PF: 75 ± 5%, P < 0.001). Global fibrillatory organization measured by FDI was highest in PF (PF: 0.67 ± 0.05 vs. CF: 0.33 ± 0.03, P < 0.001). PF harboured the longest duration and most spatially stable RAs (patchy: 1411 ± 266 ms vs. compact: 354 ± 38 ms, P < 0.001). DiF (n = 11) exhibited an intermediately organized VF pattern, sustained by a combination of multiple-wavelets and short-lived RAs.

Conclusion: The degree of GJ coupling and pattern of fibrosis influences the mechanism sustaining VF. There is a continuous spectrum of organization in VF, ranging between globally organized fibrillation sustained by stable RAs and disorganized, possibly multiple-wavelet driven fibrillation with no RAs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/cvr/cvaa141DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7983010PMC
March 2021

Granger Causality-Based Analysis for Classification of Fibrillation Mechanisms and Localization of Rotational Drivers.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2020 03 16;13(3):e008237. Epub 2020 Feb 16.

National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, United Kingdom (B.S.H., X.L., N.A.Q., I.M., R.A.C., Z.I.W., N.W.F.L., P.B.L., P.K., N.S.P., F.S.N.).

Background: The mechanisms sustaining myocardial fibrillation remain disputed, partly due to a lack of mapping tools that can accurately identify the mechanism with low spatial resolution clinical recordings. Granger causality (GC) analysis, an econometric tool for quantifying causal relationships between complex time-series, was developed as a novel fibrillation mapping tool and adapted to low spatial resolution sequentially acquired data.

Methods: Ventricular fibrillation (VF) optical mapping was performed in Langendorff-perfused Sprague-Dawley rat hearts (n=18), where novel algorithms were developed using GC-based analysis to (1) quantify causal dependence of neighboring signals and plot GC vectors, (2) quantify global organization with the causality pairing index, a measure of neighboring causal signal pairs, and (3) localize rotational drivers (RDs) by quantifying the circular interdependence of neighboring signals with the circular interdependence value. GC-based mapping tools were optimized for low spatial resolution from downsampled optical mapping data, validated against high-resolution phase analysis and further tested in previous VF optical mapping recordings of coronary perfused donor heart left ventricular wedge preparations (n=12), and adapted for sequentially acquired intracardiac electrograms during human persistent atrial fibrillation mapping (n=16).

Results: Global VF organization quantified by causality pairing index showed a negative correlation at progressively lower resolutions (50% resolution: =0.006, =0.38, 12.5% resolution, =0.004, =0.41) with a phase analysis derived measure of disorganization, locations occupied by phase singularities. In organized VF with high causality pairing index values, GC vector mapping characterized dominant propagating patterns and localized stable RDs, with the circular interdependence value showing a significant difference in driver versus nondriver regions (0.91±0.05 versus 0.35±0.06, =0.0002). These findings were further confirmed in human VF. In persistent atrial fibrillation, a positive correlation was found between the causality pairing index and presence of stable RDs (=0.0005,=0.56). Fifty percent of patients had RDs, with a low incidence of 0.9±0.3 RDs per patient.

Conclusions: GC-based fibrillation analysis can measure global fibrillation organization, characterize dominant propagating patterns, and map RDs using low spatial resolution sequentially acquired data.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.119.008237DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC7069398PMC
March 2020

Standardised Framework for Quantitative Analysis of Fibrillation Dynamics.

Sci Rep 2019 11 13;9(1):16671. Epub 2019 Nov 13.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Hammersmith Campus, Imperial College London, 72 Du Cane Rd, London, W120UQ, UK.

The analysis of complex mechanisms underlying ventricular fibrillation (VF) and atrial fibrillation (AF) requires sophisticated tools for studying spatio-temporal action potential (AP) propagation dynamics. However, fibrillation analysis tools are often custom-made or proprietary, and vary between research groups. With no optimal standardised framework for analysis, results from different studies have led to disparate findings. Given the technical gap, here we present a comprehensive framework and set of principles for quantifying properties of wavefront dynamics in phase-processed data recorded during myocardial fibrillation with potentiometric dyes. Phase transformation of the fibrillatory data is particularly useful for identifying self-perpetuating spiral waves or rotational drivers (RDs) rotating around a phase singularity (PS). RDs have been implicated in sustaining fibrillation, and thus accurate localisation and quantification of RDs is crucial for understanding specific fibrillatory mechanisms. In this work, we assess how variation of analysis parameters and thresholds in the tracking of PSs and quantification of RDs could result in different interpretations of the underlying fibrillation mechanism. These techniques have been described and applied to experimental AF and VF data, and AF simulations, and examples are provided from each of these data sets to demonstrate the range of fibrillatory behaviours and adaptability of these tools. The presented methodologies are available as an open source software and offer an off-the-shelf research toolkit for quantifying and analysing fibrillatory mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-019-52976-yDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6853901PMC
November 2019

Interventricular Differences in Action Potential Duration Restitution Contribute to Dissimilar Ventricular Rhythms in Perfused Hearts.

Front Cardiovasc Med 2019 3;6:34. Epub 2019 Apr 3.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

Dissimilar ventricular rhythms refer to the occurrence of different ventricular tachyarrhythmias in the right and left ventricles or different rates of the same tachyarrhythmia in the two ventricles. We investigated the inducibility of dissimilar ventricular rhythms, their underlying mechanisms, and the impact of anti-arrhythmic drugs (lidocaine and amiodarone) on their occurrence. Ventricular tachyarrhythmias were induced with burst pacing in 28 Langendorff-perfused Sprague Dawley rat hearts (14 control, 8 lidocaine, 6 amiodarone) and bipolar electrograms recorded from the right and left ventricles. Fourteen (6 control, 4 lidocaine, 4 amiodarone) further hearts underwent optical mapping of transmembrane voltage to study interventricular electrophysiological differences and mechanisms of dissimilar rhythms. In control hearts, dissimilar ventricular rhythms developed in 8/14 hearts (57%). In lidocaine treated hearts, there was a lower cycle length threshold for developing dissimilar rhythms, with 8/8 (100%) hearts developing dissimilar rhythms in comparison to 0/6 in the amiodarone group. Dissimilar ventricular tachycardia (VT) rates occurred at longer cycle lengths with lidocaine vs. control (57.1 ± 7.9 vs. 36.6 ± 8.4 ms, < 0.001). The ratio of LV:RV VT rate was greater in the lidocaine group than control (1.91 ± 0.30 vs. 1.76 ± 0.36, < 0.001). The gradient of the action potential duration (APD) restitution curve was shallower in the RV compared with LV (Control - LV: 0.12 ± 0.03 vs RV: 0.002 ± 0.03, = 0.015), leading to LV-to-RV conduction block during VT. Interventricular differences in APD restitution properties likely contribute to the occurrence of dissimilar rhythms. Sodium channel blockade with lidocaine increases the likelihood of dissimilar ventricular rhythms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.3389/fcvm.2019.00034DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6456660PMC
April 2019

Determinants of new wavefront locations in cholinergic atrial fibrillation.

Europace 2018 Nov;20(suppl_3):iii3-iii15

LIRYC Electrophysiology and Heart Modeling Institute, Bordeaux Fondation, Avenue du Haut-Lévèque, Pessac, France.

Aims: Atrial fibrillation (AF) wavefront dynamics are complex and difficult to interpret, contributing to uncertainty about the mechanisms that maintain AF. We aimed to investigate the interplay between rotors, wavelets, and focal sources during fibrillation.

Methods And Results: Arrhythmia wavefront dynamics were analysed for four optically mapped canine cholinergic AF preparations. A bilayer computer model was tuned to experimental preparations, and varied to have (i) fibrosis in both layers or the epicardium only, (ii) different spatial acetylcholine distributions, (iii) different intrinsic action potential duration between layers, and (iv) varied interlayer connectivity. Phase singularities (PSs) were identified and tracked over time to identify rotational drivers. New focal wavefronts were identified using phase contours. Phase singularity density and new wavefront locations were calculated during AF. There was a single dominant mechanism for sustaining AF in each of the preparations, either a rotational driver or repetitive new focal wavefronts. High-density PS sites existed preferentially around the pulmonary vein junctions. Three of the four preparations exhibited stable preferential sites of new wavefronts. Computational simulations predict that only a small number of connections are functionally important in sustaining AF, with new wavefront locations determined by the interplay between fibrosis distribution, acetylcholine concentration, and heterogeneity in repolarization within layers.

Conclusion: We were able to identify preferential sites of new wavefront initiation and rotational activity, in order to determine the mechanisms sustaining AF. Electrical measurements should be interpreted differently according to whether they are endocardial or epicardial recordings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/europace/euy235DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6251188PMC
November 2018

Rethinking multiscale cardiac electrophysiology with machine learning and predictive modelling.

Comput Biol Med 2019 01 18;104:339-351. Epub 2018 Oct 18.

ElectroCardioMaths Group, Imperial College Centre for Cardiac Engineering, Imperial College London, London, UK; National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, South Kensington Campus, London, UK.

We review some of the latest approaches to analysing cardiac electrophysiology data using machine learning and predictive modelling. Cardiac arrhythmias, particularly atrial fibrillation, are a major global healthcare challenge. Treatment is often through catheter ablation, which involves the targeted localised destruction of regions of the myocardium responsible for initiating or perpetuating the arrhythmia. Ablation targets are either anatomically defined, or identified based on their functional properties as determined through the analysis of contact intracardiac electrograms acquired with increasing spatial density by modern electroanatomic mapping systems. While numerous quantitative approaches have been investigated over the past decades for identifying these critical curative sites, few have provided a reliable and reproducible advance in success rates. Machine learning techniques, including recent deep-learning approaches, offer a potential route to gaining new insight from this wealth of highly complex spatio-temporal information that existing methods struggle to analyse. Coupled with predictive modelling, these techniques offer exciting opportunities to advance the field and produce more accurate diagnoses and robust personalised treatment. We outline some of these methods and illustrate their use in making predictions from the contact electrogram and augmenting predictive modelling tools, both by more rapidly predicting future states of the system and by inferring the parameters of these models from experimental observations.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2018.10.015DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6334203PMC
January 2019

Analytical approaches for myocardial fibrillation signals.

Comput Biol Med 2018 11 17;102:315-326. Epub 2018 Jul 17.

ElectroCardioMaths, Imperial Centre for Cardiac Engineering, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College London, United Kingdom. Electronic address:

Atrial and ventricular fibrillation are complex arrhythmias, and their underlying mechanisms remain widely debated and incompletely understood. This is partly because the electrical signals recorded during myocardial fibrillation are themselves complex and difficult to interpret with simple analytical tools. There are currently a number of analytical approaches to handle fibrillation data. Some of these techniques focus on mapping putative drivers of myocardial fibrillation, such as dominant frequency, organizational index, Shannon entropy and phase mapping. Other techniques focus on mapping the underlying myocardial substrate sustaining fibrillation, such as voltage mapping and complex fractionated electrogram mapping. In this review, we discuss these techniques, their application and their limitations, with reference to our experimental and clinical data. We also describe novel tools including a new algorithm to map microreentrant circuits sustaining fibrillation.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.compbiomed.2018.07.008DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6215772PMC
November 2018

Characterisation of re-entrant circuit (or rotational activity) in vitro using the HL1-6 myocyte cell line.

J Mol Cell Cardiol 2018 06 7;119:155-164. Epub 2018 May 7.

Myocardial Function, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, UK. Electronic address:

Fibrillation is the most common arrhythmia observed in clinical practice. Understanding of the mechanisms underlying its initiation and maintenance remains incomplete. Functional re-entries are potential drivers of the arrhythmia. Two main concepts are still debated, the "leading circle" and the "spiral wave or rotor" theories. The homogeneous subclone of the HL1 atrial-derived cardiomyocyte cell line, HL1-6, spontaneously exhibits re-entry on a microscopic scale due to its slow conduction velocity and the presence of triggers, making it possible to examine re-entry at the cellular level. We therefore investigated the re-entry cores in cell monolayers through the use of fluorescence optical mapping at high spatiotemporal resolution in order to obtain insights into the mechanisms of re-entry. Re-entries in HL1-6 myocytes required at least two triggers and a minimum colony area to initiate (3.5 to 6.4 mm). After electrical activity was completely stopped and re-started by varying the extracellular K concentration, re-entries never returned to the same location while 35% of triggers re-appeared at the same position. A conduction delay algorithm also allows visualisation of the core of the re-entries. This work has revealed that the core of re-entries is conduction blocks constituted by lines and/or groups of cells rather than the round area assumed by the other concepts of functional re-entry. This highlights the importance of experimentation at the microscopic level in the study of re-entry mechanisms.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.yjmcc.2018.05.002DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC6004038PMC
June 2018

Concurrent micro- to macro-cardiac electrophysiology in myocyte cultures and human heart slices.

Sci Rep 2018 05 2;8(1):6947. Epub 2018 May 2.

Myocardial Function Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, 4th floor Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0NN, UK.

The contact cardiac electrogram is derived from the extracellular manifestation of cellular action potentials and cell-to-cell communication. It is used to guide catheter based clinical procedures. Theoretically, the contact electrogram and the cellular action potential are directly related, and should change in conjunction with each other during arrhythmogenesis, however there is currently no methodology by which to concurrently record both electrograms and action potentials in the same preparation for direct validation of their relationships and their direct mechanistic links. We report a novel dual modality apparatus for concurrent electrogram and cellular action potential recording at a single cell level within multicellular preparations. We further demonstrate the capabilities of this system to validate the direct link between these two modalities of voltage recordings.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1038/s41598-018-25170-9DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5932023PMC
May 2018

Rotor Tracking Using Phase of Electrograms Recorded During Atrial Fibrillation.

Ann Biomed Eng 2017 04 5;45(4):910-923. Epub 2016 Dec 5.

National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, 4th floor Imperial Centre for Translational and Experimental Medicine, Hammersmith Campus, Du Cane Road, London, W12 0NN, UK.

Extracellular electrograms recorded during atrial fibrillation (AF) are challenging to interpret due to the inherent beat-to-beat variability in amplitude and duration. Phase mapping represents these voltage signals in terms of relative position within the cycle, and has been widely applied to action potential and unipolar electrogram data of myocardial fibrillation. To date, however, it has not been applied to bipolar recordings, which are commonly acquired clinically. The purpose of this study is to present a novel algorithm for calculating phase from both unipolar and bipolar electrograms recorded during AF. A sequence of signal filters and processing steps are used to calculate phase from simulated, experimental, and clinical, unipolar and bipolar electrograms. The algorithm is validated against action potential phase using simulated data (trajectory centre error <0.8 mm); between experimental multi-electrode array unipolar and bipolar phase; and for wavefront identification in clinical atrial tachycardia. For clinical AF, similar rotational content (R  = 0.79) and propagation maps (median correlation 0.73) were measured using either unipolar or bipolar recordings. The algorithm is robust, uses standard signal processing techniques, and accurately quantifies AF wavefronts and sources. Identifying critical sources, such as rotors, in AF, may allow for more accurate targeting of ablation therapy and improved patient outcomes.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10439-016-1766-4DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5362653PMC
April 2017

Enhancement of Gap Junction Function During Acute Myocardial Infarction Modifies Healing and Reduces Late Ventricular Arrhythmia Susceptibility.

JACC Clin Electrophysiol 2016 Oct;2(5):574-582

Imperial College, London, United Kingdom; Myocardial Function, National Heart & Lung Institute, Imperial College, London, United Kingdom.

Objectives: The purpose of this study was to investigate the effects of enhancing gap junction (GJ) coupling during acute myocardial infarction (MI) on the healed infarct scar morphology and late post-MI arrhythmia susceptibility.

Background: Increased heterogeneity of myocardial scarring after MI is associated with greater arrhythmia susceptibility. We hypothesized that short-term enhancement of GJ coupling during acute MI can produce more homogeneous infarct scars, reducing late susceptibility to post-MI arrhythmias.

Methods: Following arrhythmic characterization of a rat 4-week post-MI model (n = 24), another 27 Sprague-Dawley rats were randomized to receive rotigaptide to enhance GJ coupling (n = 13) or to saline control (n = 14) by osmotic minipump immediately prior to and for the first 7 days following surgically induced MI. At 4 weeks post-MI, hearts were explanted for ex vivo programmed electrical stimulation (PES) and optical mapping. Heterogeneity of infarct border zone (IBZ) scarring was quantified by histomorphometry.

Results: Despite no detectable differences in infarct size at 4 weeks post-MI, rotigaptide-treated hearts had reduced arrhythmia susceptibility during PES (inducibility score for rotigaptide: 2.4 ± 0.8; for control: 5.0 ± 0.6; p = 0.02) and less heterogeneous IBZ scarring (dispersion of IBZ complexity score: rotigaptide: 1.1 ± 0.1; control: 1.4 ± 0.1; p = 0.04), associated with an improvement in IBZ conduction velocity (rotigaptide: 43.1 ± 3.4 cm/s; control: 34.8 ± 2.0 cm/s; p = 0.04).

Conclusions: Enhancement of GJ coupling for only 7 days at the time of acute MI produced more homogeneous IBZ scarring and reduced arrhythmia susceptibility at 4 weeks post-MI. Short-term GJ modulation at the time of MI may represent a novel treatment strategy to modify the healed infarct scar morphology and reduce late post-MI arrhythmic risk.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacep.2016.03.007DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5076465PMC
October 2016

Localization Accuracy of Distributed Inverse Solutions for Electric and Magnetic Source Imaging of Interictal Epileptic Discharges in Patients with Focal Epilepsy.

Brain Topogr 2016 Jan 22;29(1):162-81. Epub 2015 Jan 22.

Department of Neurology and Neurosurgery, Montreal Neurological Institute, McGill University, 3801 University Street, Room 786, Montreal, QC, H3A 2B4, Canada.

Distributed inverse solutions aim to realistically reconstruct the origin of interictal epileptic discharges (IEDs) from noninvasively recorded electroencephalography (EEG) and magnetoencephalography (MEG) signals. Our aim was to compare the performance of different distributed inverse solutions in localizing IEDs: coherent maximum entropy on the mean (cMEM), hierarchical Bayesian implementations of independent identically distributed sources (IID, minimum norm prior) and spatially coherent sources (COH, spatial smoothness prior). Source maxima (i.e., the vertex with the maximum source amplitude) of IEDs in 14 EEG and 19 MEG studies from 15 patients with focal epilepsy were analyzed. We visually compared their concordance with intracranial EEG (iEEG) based on 17 cortical regions of interest and their spatial dispersion around source maxima. Magnetic source imaging (MSI) maxima from cMEM were most often confirmed by iEEG (cMEM: 14/19, COH: 9/19, IID: 8/19 studies). COH electric source imaging (ESI) maxima co-localized best with iEEG (cMEM: 8/14, COH: 11/14, IID: 10/14 studies). In addition, cMEM was less spatially spread than COH and IID for ESI and MSI (p < 0.001 Bonferroni-corrected post hoc t test). Highest positive predictive values for cortical regions with IEDs in iEEG could be obtained with cMEM for MSI and with COH for ESI. Additional realistic EEG/MEG simulations confirmed our findings. Accurate spatially extended sources, as found in cMEM (ESI and MSI) and COH (ESI) are desirable for source imaging of IEDs because this might influence surgical decision. Our simulations suggest that COH and IID overestimate the spatial extent of the generators compared to cMEM.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1007/s10548-014-0423-1DOI Listing
January 2016

Fractionation of electrograms is caused by colocalized conduction block and connexin disorganization in the absence of fibrosis as AF becomes persistent in the goat model.

Heart Rhythm 2015 Feb 27;12(2):397-408. Epub 2014 Oct 27.

Imperial College London, London, SW7 2AZ, United Kingdom.

Background: Electrogram fractionation and atrial fibrosis are both thought to be pathophysiological hallmarks of evolving persistence of atrial fibrillation (AF), but recent studies in humans have shown that they do not colocalize. The interrelationship and relative roles of fractionation and fibrotic change in AF persistence therefore remain unclear.

Objective: The aim of the study was to examine the hypothesis that electrogram fractionation with increasing persistence of AF results from localized conduction slowing or block due to changes in atrial connexin distribution in the absence of fibrotic change.

Methods: Of 12 goats, atrial burst pacemakers maintained AF in 9 goats for up to 3 consecutive 4-week periods. After each 4-week period, 3 goats underwent epicardial mapping studies of the right atrium and examination of the atrial myocardium for immunodetection of connexins 43 and 40 (Cx43 and Cx40) and quantification of connective tissue.

Results: Despite refractoriness returning to normal in between each 4-week period of AF, there was a cumulative increase in the prevalence of fractionated atrial electrograms during both atrial pacing (control and 1, 2, and 3 months period of AF 0.3%, 1.3% ± 1.5%, 10.6% ± 2%, and 17% ± 5%, respectively; analysis of variance, P < .05) and AF (0.3% ± 0.1%, 2.3% ± 1.2%, 14% ± 2%, and 23% ± 3%; P < .05) caused by colocalized areas of conduction block during both pacing (local conduction velocity <10 cm/s: 0.1% ± 0.1%, 0.3% ± 0.6%, 6.5% ± 3%, and 6.9% ± 4%; P < .05) and AF (1.5% ± 0.5%, 2.7% ± 1.1%, 10.1% ± 1.2%, and 13.6% ± 0.4%; P < .05), associated with an increase in the heterogeneity of Cx40 and lateralization of Cx43 (lateralization scores: 1.75 ± 0.89, 1.44 ± 0.31, 2.85 ± 0.96, and 2.94 ± 0.31; P < .02), but not associated with change in connective tissue content or net conduction velocity.

Conclusion: Electrogram fractionation with increasing persistence of AF results from slow localized conduction or block associated with changes in atrial connexin distribution in the absence of fibrotic change.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.hrthm.2014.10.027DOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC4315883PMC
February 2015

Relationship between connexin expression and gap-junction resistivity in human atrial myocardium.

Circ Arrhythm Electrophysiol 2014 Apr 7;7(2):321-9. Epub 2014 Mar 7.

Myocardial Function Section, Imperial College London and Imperial College NHS Trust, London, UK.

Background: The relative roles of the gap-junctional proteins connexin40 (Cx40) and connexin43 (Cx43) in determining human atrial myocardial resistivity is unknown. In addressing the hypothesis that changing relative expression of Cx40 and Cx43 underlies an increase in human atrial myocardial resistivity with age, this relationship was investigated by direct ex vivo measurement of gap-junctional resistivity and quantitative connexin immunoblotting and immunohistochemistry.

Methods And Results: Oil-gap impedance measurements were performed to determine resistivity of the intracellular pathway (Ri), which correlated with total Cx40 quantification by Western blotting (rs=0.64, P<0.01, n=20). Specific gap-junctional resistivity (Rj) correlated not only with Western immunoquantification of Cx40 (rs=0.63, P=0.01, n=20), but also more specifically, with the Cx40 fraction localized to the intercalated disks on immunohistochemical quantification (rs=0.66, P=0.02, n=12). Although Cx43 expression showed no correlation with resistivity values, the proportional expression of the 2 connexins, (Cx40/[Cx40+Cx43]) correlated with Ri and Rj (rs=0.58, P<0.01 for Ri and rs=0.51, P=0.02 for Rj). Advancing age was associated with a rise in Ri (rs=0.77, P<0.0001), Rj (rs=0.65, P<0.001, n=23), Cx40 quantity (rs=0.54, P=0.01, n=20), and Cx40 gap-junction protein per unit area of en face disk (rs=0.61, P=0.02, n=12).

Conclusions: Cx40 is associated with human right atrial gap-junctional resistivity such that increased total, gap-junctional, and proportional Cx40 expression increases gap-junctional resistivity. Accordingly, advancing age is associated with an increase in Cx40 expression and a corresponding increase in gap-junctional resistivity. These findings are the first to demonstrate this relationship and a mechanistic explanation for changing atrial conduction and age-related arrhythmic tendency.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1161/CIRCEP.113.000606DOI Listing
April 2014

Characterisation of connexin expression and electrophysiological properties in stable clones of the HL-1 myocyte cell line.

PLoS One 2014 28;9(2):e90266. Epub 2014 Feb 28.

Myocardial Function Section, National Heart and Lung Institute, Imperial College London, London, United Kingdom.

The HL-1 atrial line contains cells blocked at various developmental stages. To obtain homogeneous sub-clones and correlate changes in gene expression with functional alterations, individual clones were obtained and characterised for parameters involved in conduction and excitation-contraction coupling. Northern blots for mRNAs coding for connexins 40, 43 and 45 and calcium handling proteins (sodium/calcium exchanger, L- and T-type calcium channels, ryanodine receptor 2 and sarco-endoplasmic reticulum calcium ATPase 2) were performed. Connexin expression was further characterised by western blots and immunofluorescence. Inward currents were characterised by voltage clamp and conduction velocities measured using microelectrode arrays. The HL-1 clones had similar sodium and calcium inward currents with the exception of clone 2 which had a significantly smaller calcium current density. All the clones displayed homogenous propagation of electrical activity across the monolayer correlating with the levels of connexin expression. Conduction velocities were also more sensitive to inhibition of junctional coupling by carbenoxolone (∼ 80%) compared to inhibition of the sodium current by lidocaine (∼ 20%). Electrical coupling by gap junctions was the major determinant of conduction velocities in HL-1 cell lines. In summary we have isolated homogenous and stable HL-1 clones that display characteristics distinct from the heterogeneous properties of the original cell line.
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http://journals.plos.org/plosone/article?id=10.1371/journal.pone.0090266PLOS
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3938655PMC
October 2014

The Renin-Angiotensin system mediates the effects of stretch on conduction velocity, connexin43 expression, and redistribution in intact ventricle.

J Cardiovasc Electrophysiol 2010 Nov;21(11):1276-83

Department of Cardiac Electrophysiology, Imperial College & St. Mary's Hospital, London, UK.

Unlabelled: Effect of Stretch on Conduction and Cx43.

Introduction: In disease states such as heart failure, myocardial infarction, and hypertrophy, changes in the expression and location of Connexin43 (Cx43) occur (Cx43 remodeling), and may predispose to arrhythmias. Stretch may be an important stimulus to Cx43 remodeling; however, it has only been investigated in neonatal cell cultures, which have different physiological properties than adult myocytes. We hypothesized that localized stretch in vivo causes Cx43 remodeling, with associated changes in conduction, mediated by the renin-angiotensin system (RAS).

Methods And Results: In an open-chest canine model, a device was used to stretch part of the right ventricle (RV) by 22% for 6 hours. Activation mapping using a 312-electrode array was performed before and after stretch. Regional stretch did not change longitudinal conduction velocity (post-stretch vs baseline: 51.5 ± 5.2 vs 55.3 ± 8.1 cm/s, P = 0.24, n = 11), but significantly reduced transverse conduction velocity (28.7 ± 2.5 vs 35.4 ± 5.4 cm/s, P < 0.01). It also reduced total Cx43 expression, by Western blotting, compared with nonstretched RV of the same animal (86.1 ± 32.2 vs 100 ± 19.4%, P < 0.02, n = 11). Cx43 labeling redistributed to the lateral cell borders. Stretch caused a small but significant increase in the proportion of the dephosphorylated form of Cx43 (stretch 9.95 ± 1.4% vs control 8.74 ± 1.2%, P < 0.05). Olmesartan, an angiotensin II blocker, prevented the stretch-induced changes in Cx43 levels, localization, and conduction.

Conclusion: Myocardial stretch in vivo has opposite effects to that in neonatal myocytes in vitro. Stretch in vivo causes conduction changes associated with Cx43 remodeling that are likely caused by local stretch-induced activation of the RAS.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/j.1540-8167.2010.01802.xDOI Listing
http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC2937061PMC
November 2010

Suburothelial myofibroblasts in the human overactive bladder and the effect of botulinum neurotoxin type A treatment.

Eur Urol 2009 Jun 18;55(6):1440-8. Epub 2008 Nov 18.

Institute of Neurology, National Hospital for Neurology and Neurosurgery, University College London, UK.

Background: An increasing body of evidence suggests a possible role of suburothelial myofibroblasts (MFs) in bladder mechanosensation and in the pathophysiology of detrusor overactivity (DO).

Objective: To determine whether markers of MFs, including gap junction protein connexin43 (Cx43) and c-kit have altered immunohistochemical expression in the suburothelium of patients with neurogenic DO (NDO) or idiopathic DO (IDO) and whether this is affected by successful treatment of DO with botulinum neurotoxin type A (BoNTA).

Design, Setting, And Participants: Patients with NDO (n=10) or IDO (n=11) were treated in a single-centre, open-label study of intradetrusor BoNTA injections. Control tissue was obtained from 10 patients undergoing pelvic-floor repair procedures who had no overactive bladder (OAB) symptoms. This study is registered with ClinicalTrials.gov, number NCT00662064.

Interventions: Bladder biopsies performed with flexible cystoscopes were obtained from control subjects and from NDO and IDO patients before BoNTA treatment and at 4 wk and 16 wk after treatment. They were studied with quantitative immunofluorescence using antibodies to connexin 43 (Cx43), vimentin, and c-kit.

Measurements: Differences in Cx43, vimentin, and c-kit immunoreactivity between control subjects and NDO or IDO patients (primary outcomes). Changes in NDO or IDO, Cx43 immunoreactivity, and c-kit immunoreactivity after BoNTA treatment (secondary outcomes).

Results And Limitations: Cx43 immunoreactivity was increased in both IDO and NDO patients compared to controls, but remained unchanged after BoNTA treatment. C-kit immunoreactivity was similar in NDO/IDO patients and controls and remained unchanged after BoNTA treatment.

Conclusions: Increased gap junction formation in the suburothelium has been demonstrated in biopsies from humans with DO. It is hypothesised that this change could have a significant role in the pathogenesis of the detrusor abnormality. Successful treatment of NDO or IDO does not appear to be associated with changes in the expression of Cx43 or c-kit on suburothelial MFs.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2008.11.009DOI Listing
June 2009

Characteristics of spontaneous activity in the bladder trigone.

Eur Urol 2009 Aug 20;56(2):346-53. Epub 2008 Jun 20.

Department of Surgery, University College London, London, United Kingdom.

Background: During bladder filling, the trigone contracts help keep the ureteral orifices open and the bladder neck shut. The trigone generates spontaneous activity as well as responding to neuromuscular transmitters, but the relationship between these phenomena are unclear.

Objectives: To characterise the cellular mechanisms that regulate and modify spontaneous activity in trigone smooth muscle.

Design, Setting, And Participants: Muscle strips from the superficial trigone of male guinea-pigs were used for tension experiments and immunofluorescent studies.

Measurements: In isolated trigonal cells, intracellular Ca(2+) was measured by epifluorescence microscopy using the fluorescent Ca(2+) indicator Fura-2.

Results And Limitations: Spontaneous intracellular Ca(2+) transients and contractions were observed in trigonal single cells and strips and were significantly higher compared to the bladder dome. Ca-free superfusate and verapamil terminated spontaneity. T-type Ca(2+) channel block with NiCl(2) depressed slightly Ca(2+) transients but not spontaneous contractions. Neither the BK(Ca) channel blocker iberiotoxin nor the SK(Ca) channel blocker apamin had any effect on single cell activity. By contrast, the Cl(-) channel blocker niflumic acid attenuated significantly both Ca(2+) transients and muscle contractions. Agonist stimulation (carbachol, phenylephrine) up-regulated activity. Gap junction labelling (Cx43) was approximately 5 times denser in the trigone than in detrusor smooth muscle. The gap junction blocker 18-beta-glycyrrhetinic acid modulated spontaneous contractions in the trigone but not in the bladder dome.

Conclusions: Trigone myocytes employ membrane L-type-Ca(2+) channels and Cl(-) channels to generate spontaneous activity. Intercellular electrical coupling ensures its propagation and, thus, sustains contraction of the whole trigone.
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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.eururo.2008.06.048DOI Listing
August 2009