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Arrhythmia in isolated prenatal hearts after ablation of the Cav2.3 (alpha1E) subunit of voltage-gated Ca2+ channels.

Zhong-Ju Lu, Alexey Pereverzev, Hui-Lin Liu, Marco Weiergräber, Margit Henry, Andreas Krieger, Neil Smyth, Jürgen Hescheler, Toni Schneider

Cell. Physiol. Biochem., 2004 , 14, 11-22

A voltage-gated calcium channel containing Cav2.3e (alpha1Ee) as the ion conducting pore has recently been detected in rat heart. Functional evidence for this Ca2+ channel to be involved in the regulation of heart beating, besides L- and T-type channels, was derived from murine embryos where the gene for Cav1.2 had been ablated. The remaining "L-type like" current component was not related to recombinant splice variants of Cav1.3 containing channels. As recombinant Cav2.3 channels from rat were reported to be weakly dihydropyridine sensitive, the spontaneous activity of the prenatal hearts from Cav2.3(-|-) mice was compared to that of Cav2.3(+|+) control animals to investigate if Cav2.3 could represent such a L-type like Ca(2+) channel. The spontaneous activity of murine embryonic hearts was recorded by using a multielectrode array. Between day 9.5 p.c. to 12.5 p.c., the beating frequency of isolated embryonic hearts from Cav2.3-deficient mice did not differ significantly from control mice but the coefficient of variation within individual episodes was more than four-fold increased in Cav2.3-deficient mice indicating arrhythmia. In isolated hearts from wild type mice, arrhythmia was induced by superfusion with a solution containing 200 nM SNX-482, a blocker of some R-type voltage gated Ca2+ channels, suggesting that R-type channels containing the splice variant Cav2.3e as ion conducting pore stabilize a more regular heart beat in prenatal mice.