Annals of Biomedical Engineering

, Volume 29, Issue 5, pp 414–426 | Cite as

Mechanoelectric Feedback in a Model of the Passively Inflated Left Ventricle

  • Frederick J. Vetter
  • Andrew D. McCulloch


Mechanoelectric feedback has been described in isolated cells and intact ventricular myocardium, but the mechanical stimulus that governs mechanosensitive channel activity in intact tissue is unknown. To study the interaction of myocardial mechanics and electrophysiology in multiple dimensions, we used a finite element model of the rabbit ventricles to simulate electrical propagation through passively loaded myocardium. Electrical propagation was simulated using the collocation-Galerkin finite element method. A stretch-dependent current was added in parallel to the ionic currents in the Beeler–Reuter ventricular action potential model. We investigated different mechanical coupling parameters to simulate stretch-dependent conductance modulated by either fiber strain, cross-fiber strain, or a combination of the two. In response to pressure loading, the conductance model governed by fiber strain alone reproduced the epicardial decrease in action potential amplitude as observed in experimental preparations of the passively loaded rabbit heart. The model governed by only cross-fiber strain reproduced the transmural gradient in action potential amplitude as observed in working canine heart experiments, but failed to predict a sufficient decrease in amplitude at the epicardium. Only the model governed by both fiber and cross-fiber strain reproduced the epicardial and transmural changes in action potential amplitude similar to experimental observations. In addition, dispersion of action potential duration nearly doubled with the same model. These results suggest that changes in action potential characteristics may be due not only to length changes along the long axis direction of the myofiber, but also due to deformation in the plane transverse to the fiber axis. The model provides a framework for investigating how cellular biophysics affect the function of the intact ventricles. © 2001 Biomedical Engineering Society.

PAC01: 8716Uv, 8719Nn, 8719Hh, 8719Rr, 8718Bb, 8710+e, 0270Dh, 8717Aa

Action potential morphology Cardiac mechanics Mechanosensitive channel Stretch-dependent current Excitation–contraction coupling Numerical model study 


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Copyright information

© Biomedical Engineering Society 2001

Authors and Affiliations

  • Frederick J. Vetter
    • 1
  • Andrew D. McCulloch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of BioengineeringUniversity of California, San DiegoSan Diego

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