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Transient outward potassium channel regulation in healthy and diabetic hearts.

Mónica Gallego, Aintzane Alday, Janire Urrutia, Oscar Casis

Can. J. Physiol. Pharmacol., 2009 Feb , 87, 77-83

Diabetic patients have a higher incidence of cardiac arrhythmias, including ventricular fibrillation and sudden death, and show important alterations in the electrocardiogram, most of these related to the repolarization. In myocytes isolated from diabetic hearts, the transient outward K+ current (Ito) is the repolarizing current that is mainly affected. Type 1 diabetes alters Ito at 3 levels: the recovery of inactivation, the responsiveness to physiologic regulators, and the functional expression of the channel. Diabetes slows down Ito recovery of inactivation because it triggers the switching from fast-recovering Kv4.x channels to the slow-recovering Kv1.4. Diabetic animals also have decreased responsiveness of Ito towards the sympathetic nervous system; thus, the diabetic heart develops a resistance to its physiologic regulator. Finally, diabetes impairs support of various trophic factors required for the functional expression of the channel and reduces Ito amplitude by decreasing the amount of Kv4.2 and Kv4.3 proteins.