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T-type Ca2+ current is expressed in hypertrophied adult feline left ventricular myocytes.

H B Nuss, S R Houser

Circ. Res., 1993 Oct , 73, 777-82

Macroscopic T-type Ca2+ currents, which are often observed in fetal and neonatal cardiac muscle cells, were not found in normal (0 of 17) adult feline ventricular myocytes. However, they were present in most (15 of 21) myocytes isolated from adult feline left ventricles with long-standing pressure-overload-induced hypertrophy. This is the first study to provide evidence in a large mammal, such as the cat, that T-type Ca2+ channels may be reexpressed in adults in association with hypertrophy resulting from slow progressive pressure overload. Importantly, this expression was stable for the duration of the hypertrophy process and was not associated with abrupt pressure overload. T-type Ca2+ currents were separated from L-type Ca2+ currents by exploiting the differences in their voltage dependence of steady-state inactivation. Depolarizations from -80 mV revealed a rapidly activating inward current that peaked in magnitude at -30 mV (-1.8 +/- 0.9 [mean +/- SD] pA/pF) and fully inactivated within 100 milliseconds in 15 of 21 hypertrophied myocytes studied. Further depolarizations activated progressively less T-type Ca2+ current, so that at +10 mV the L-type Ca2+ current predominated. In the hypertrophied myocytes that demonstrated both T-type and L-type Ca2+ currents, two distinct peaks occurred in their current-voltage relations. T-type Ca2+ currents were not evident in any of the 17 normal adult feline left ventricular myocytes studied. The purpose of T-type Ca2+ currents in hypertrophy is unclear. However, their presence may make hypertrophied myocardium more prone to spontaneous action potentials and increase the likelihood for arrhythmias in partially depolarized hypertrophied myocardium.