Am J Physiol Heart Circ Physiol 2019 Jun 15;316(6):H1507-H1527. Epub 2019 Mar 15.
Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research and Training Institute, University of Utah , Salt Lake City, Utah.
The "stress" kinases cAMP-dependent protein kinase (PKA) and calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), phosphorylate the Na channel Nav1.5 subunit to regulate its function. However, how the channel regulation translates to ventricular conduction is poorly understood. We hypothesized that the stress kinases positively and differentially regulate conduction in the right (RV) and the left (LV) ventricles. We applied the CaMKII blocker KN93 (2.75 μM), PKA blocker H89 (10 μM), and broad-acting phosphatase blocker calyculin (30 nM) in rabbit hearts paced at a cycle length (CL) of 150-8,000 ms. We used optical mapping to determine the distribution of local conduction delays (inverse of conduction velocity). Control hearts exhibited constant and uniform conduction at all tested CLs. Calyculin (15-min perfusion) accelerated conduction, with greater effect in the RV (by 15.3%) than in the LV (by 4.1%; < 0.05). In contrast, both KN93 and H89 slowed down conduction in a chamber-, time-, and CL-dependent manner, with the strongest effect in the RV outflow tract (RVOT). Combined KN93 and H89 synergistically promoted conduction slowing in the RV (KN93: 24.7%; H89: 29.9%; and KN93 + H89: 114.2%; = 0.0016) but not the LV. The progressive depression of RV conduction led to conduction block and reentrant arrhythmias. Protein expression levels of both the CaMKII-δ isoform and the PKA catalytic subunit were higher in the RVOT than in the apical LV ( < 0.05). Thus normal RV conduction requires a proper balance between kinase and phosphatase activity. Dysregulation of this balance due to pharmacological interventions or disease is potentially proarrhythmic. We show that uniform ventricular conduction requires a precise physiological balance of the activities of calcium/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II (CaMKII), PKA, and phosphatases, which involves region-specific expression of CaMKII and PKA. Inhibiting CaMKII and/or PKA activity elicits nonuniform conduction depression, with the right ventricle becoming vulnerable to the development of conduction disturbances and ventricular fibrillation/ventricular tachycardia.
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