(-)-Terpinen-4-ol changes intracellular Ca2+ handling and induces pacing disturbance in rat hearts
(-)-Terpinen-4-ol is a naturally occurring plant monoterpene and has been shown to have a plethora of biological activities. The objective of this study was to investigate the effects of (-)-terpinen-4-ol on the rat heart, a key player in the control and maintenance of arterial blood pressure. The effects of (-)-terpinen-4-ol on the rat heart were investigated using isolated left atrium isometric force measurements, in vivo electrocardiogram (ECG) recordings, patch clamp technique, and confocal microscopy. It was observed that (-)-terpinen-4-ol reduced contraction force in an isolated left atrium at millimolar concentrations. Conversely, it induced a positive inotropic effect and extrasystoles at micromolar concentrations, suggesting that (-)-terpinen-4-ol may have arrhythmogenic activity on cardiac tissue. In anaesthetized animals, (-)-terpinen-4-ol also elicited rhythm disturbance, such as supraventricular tachycardia and atrioventricular block. To investigate the cellular mechanism underlying the dual effect of (-)-terpinen-4-ol on heart muscle, experiments were performed on isolated ventricular cardiomyocytes to determine the effect of (-)-terpinen-4-ol on L-type Ca2+ currents, Ca2+ sparks, and Ca2+ transients. The arrhythmogenic activity of (-)-terpinen-4-ol in vitro and in vivo may be explained by its effect on intracellular Ca2+ handling. Taken together, our data suggest that (-)-terpinen-4-ol has cardiac arrhythmogenic activity.