Bistable dynamics of cardiac cell models coupled by dynamic gap junctions linked to Cardiac Memory
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In an earlier study, we suggested that adaptive gap junctions (GJs) might be a basis of cardiac memory, a phenomenon which refers to persistent electrophysiological response of the heart to external pacing. Later, it was also shown that the proposed mechanism of adaptation of GJs is consistent with known electrophysiology of GJs. In the present article, we show that a pair of cardiac cell models coupled by dynamic, voltage-sensitive GJs exhibits bistable behavior under certain conditions. Three kinds of cell pairs are considered: (1) a Noble–Noble cell pair that represents adjacent cells in Purkinje network, (2) a pair of DiFranceso–Noble cells that represents adjacent SA nodal cells, and (3) a model of Noble cell coupled to Luo–Rudy cell model, which represents an interacting pair of a Purkinje fiber and a ventricular myocyte. Bistability is demonstrated in all the three cases. We suggest that this bistability might be an underlying factor behind cardiac memory. Focused analysis of a pair of Noble cell models showed that bistability is obtained only when the properties of GJs “match” with the properties of the pair of cells that is coupled by the GJs. This novel notion of match between GJs and cardiac cell types might give an insight into specialized distributions of various connexin proteins in cardiac tissue.
KeywordsVoltage-sensitive gap junctions Hysteresis Hebbian mechanisms Noble cardiac cell model Luo–Rudy model DiFrancesco model
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