Slow Conduction in Cardiac Tissue, I: Effects of a Reduction of Excitability Versus a Reduction of Electrical Coupling on Microconduction

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It was the aim of this study to characterize the spread of activation at the cellular level in cardiac tissue during conduction slowing, a key element of reentrant arrhythmias; therefore, activation patterns were assessed at high spatiotemporal resolution in narrow (70 to 80 [micro sign]m) and wide (230 to 270 [micro sign]m) linear strands of cultured neonatal rat ventricular myocytes, using multiple site optical recording of transmembrane voltage. Slow conduction was induced by graded elevation of [K+]o, by applying tetrodotoxin, or by exposing the preparations to the gap junctional uncouplers palmitoleic acid or 1-octanol. The main findings of the study are 4-fold: (1) gap junctional uncoupling reduced conduction velocity (range, 37 to 47 cm/s under control conditions) to a substantially larger extent before block (

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