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Early down-regulation of K+ channel genes and currents in the postinfarction heart.

B Huang, D Qin, N El-Sherif

J. Cardiovasc. Electrophysiol., 2000 Nov , 11, 1252-61

INTRODUCTION: Down-regulation of key K+ channel subunit gene expression and K+ currents is a universal response to cardiac hypertrophy, whatever the cause, including the postmyocardial infarction (post-MI) remodeled heart. METHODS AND RESULTS: We investigated the hypothesis that down-regulation of K+ channel genes and currents post-MI occurs early and before significant remodeled hypertrophy of the noninfarcted myocardium could be detected. We investigated (1) the incidence of induced ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VT) in 3-day post-MI rat heart; (2) action potential (AP) characteristics of isolated left ventricular (LV) myocytes from sham-operated and 3-day post-MI heart; (3) time course of changes in outward K+ currents Ito-fast(f) and I(K) in isolated myocytes from 3-day and 4-week post-MI noninfarcted LV and compared the changes with sham-operated animals; and (4) changes in the messenger and protein levels of Kv2.1, Kv4.2, and Kv4.3 in the LV and right ventricle of 3-day post-MI heart. Sustained VT was induced in 6 of 10 3-day post-MI rats and in none of 8 sham rats. The membrane capacitance of myocytes isolated from 3-day post-MI noninfarcted LV was not significantly different from control, whereas membrane capacitance 4-week post-MI was significantly higher, reflecting the development of hypertrophy. AP duration was increased and the density of Ito-f and I(K) were significantly decreased in 3-day post-MI LV myocytes compared with sham. The reduced density of Ito did not significantly differ in 4-week post-MI LV myocytes, whereas the density of I(K) was decreased further at 4 weeks post-MI. The changes in Ito-f and I(K) correlated with decreased messenger and protein levels of Kv4.2/Kv4.3 and Kv2.1, respectively. CONCLUSION: These results support the hypothesis that down-regulation of K+ channel gene expression and current in the post-MI LV occurs early and may be dissociated from the slower time course of post-MI remodeled hypertrophy. These changes may contribute to early arrhythmogenesis of the post-MI heart.