Targeted external heavy ion irradiation (THIR) of rabbit hearts 2 weeks after myocardial infarction (MI) reduced the vulnerability of fatal ventricular tachyarrhythmias (VT/VF) in association with the increased connexin43 (Cx43). Increased Cx43 was maintained for at least 1 year in normal rabbits, but the long-term antiarrhythmic effects in the MI model are unknown. We investigated the propensity for late potentials and VT/VF inducibility.Methods:
Intracoronary injection of microspheres was performed to induce nontransmural MI in anesthetized eight beagles. Four beagles were treated with THIR (12C6+, 15 Gy) 2 weeks later (MI + THIR group), and four without THIR served as controls (MI group). Signal-averaged electrocardiography, programmed electrical stimulation, immunohistochemical analysis, and echocardiograms were performed at 1 year.Results:
Filtered QRS duration was exacerbated after MI and remained unchanged for 1 year in the MI group (118 ± 1.4 ms), but significantly returned toward baseline in the MI + THIR group (109 ± 6.9 ms). Similarly, root mean square voltage of the last 40 ms was exacerbated after MI, but recovered after THIR. VT/VF inducibility decreased to 25% in the MI + THIR group compared with 100% in the MI group. Immunostaining Cx43 expression in cardiac tissues significantly increased by 24–45% in the MI + THIR group. Left ventricular ejection fractions remained within the normal range in both groups.Conclusion:
A single exposure of the dog heart to 12C irradiation attenuated vulnerability to ventricular arrhythmia after the induction of MI for at least 1 year through the modulation of Cx43 expression.