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Regional distribution of hyperpolarization-activated current (If) and hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel mRNA expression in ventricular cells from control and hypertrophied rat hearts.

María Fernández-Velasco, Nora Goren, Gemma Benito, Javier Blanco-Rivero, Lisardo Boscá, Carmen Delgado

J. Physiol. (Lond.), 2003 Dec 1 , 553, 395-405

Hyperpolarization-activated inward current (If) and changes in the messenger RNA (mRNA) expression levels of hyperpolarization-activated cyclic nucleotide-gated channel (HCN)2 and HCN4 encoding If channels of the rat heart were studied in control and hypertrophied myocytes isolated from three ventricular regions: the septum (S), the left ventricular free wall (LV) and the right ventricular free wall (RV). Electrophysiological experiments were conducted by ruptured and perforated-patch clamp techniques and quantification of mRNA levels was carried out by quantitative reverse transcriptase polymerase chain reaction. The occurrence, density and maximal specific conductance of If were found to be significantly higher in hypertrophied ventricular myocytes isolated from S and LV than in those isolated from RV or sham-operated rats. Half-maximal activation potential, the slope of the activation curve and the threshold for activation were similar in ventricular myocytes from sham and aortic stenosed rats in the three regions studied. Isoproterenol 1 micromol l-1 increased current size by shifting current activation to more positive potentials in both sham and hypertrophied myocytes. When we studied the mRNA levels of If channel isoforms present in the ventricle, we found a significant increase of HCN2 and HCN4 mRNA levels in hypertrophied myocytes from S and LV but not in RV. We conclude that the occurrence, density and conductance of If is higher in hypertrophied than in control ventricular myocytes, S being the region where all these changes were most evident. These findings are associated with a higher expression of HCN2 and HCN4 mRNA levels in the two regions that developed hypertrophy.