PubMed 24951751

Referenced in Channelpedia wiki pages of: none

Automatically associated channels: Kir2.3

Title: Variable t-tubule organization and Ca2+ homeostasis across the atria.

Authors: Michael Frisk, Jussi T Koivumäki, Per A Norseng, Mary M Maleckar, Ole M Sejersted, William E Louch

Journal, date & volume: Am. J. Physiol. Heart Circ. Physiol., 2014 Aug 15 , 307, H609-20

PubMed link:

Although t-tubules have traditionally been thought to be absent in atrial cardiomyocytes, recent studies have suggested that t-tubules exist in the atria of large mammals. However, it is unclear whether regional differences in t-tubule organization exist that define cardiomyocyte function across the atria. We sought to investigate regional t-tubule density in pig and rat atria and the consequences for cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) homeostasis. We observed t-tubules in approximately one-third of rat atrial cardiomyocytes, in both tissue cryosections and isolated cardiomyocytes. In a minority (≈10%) of atrial cardiomyocytes, the t-tubular network was well organized, with a transverse structure resembling that of ventricular cardiomyocytes. In both rat and pig atrial tissue, we observed higher t-tubule density in the epicardium than in the endocardium. Consistent with high variability in the distribution of t-tubules and Ca(2+) channels among cells, L-type Ca(2+) current amplitude was also highly variable and steeply dependent on capacitance and t-tubule density. Accordingly, Ca(2+) transients showed great variability in Ca(2+) release synchrony. Simultaneous imaging of the cell membrane and Ca(2+) transients confirmed t-tubule functionality. Results from mathematical modeling indicated that a transmural gradient in t-tubule organization and Ca(2+) release kinetics supports synchronization of contraction across the atrial wall and may underlie transmural differences in the refractory period. In conclusion, our results indicate that t-tubule density is highly variable across the atria. We propose that higher t-tubule density in cells localized in the epicardium may promote synchronization of contraction across the atrial wall.