AimsThe purpose of this study was to investigate the functional role of G-protein-coupled inward rectifier potassium (GIRK) channels in the cardiac ventricle.Methods and resultsImmunofluorescence experiments demonstrated that GIRK4 was localized in outer sarcolemmas and t-tubules in GIRK1 knockout (KO) mice, whereas GIRK4 labelling was not detected in GIRK4 KO mice. GIRK4 was localized in intercalated discs in rat ventricle, whereas it was expressed in intercalated discs and outer sarcolemmas in rat atrium. GIRK4 was localized in t-tubules and intercalated discs in human ventricular endocardium and epicardium, but absent in mid-myocardium. Electrophysiological recordings in rat ventricular tissue ex vivo showed that the adenosine A1 receptor agonist N6-cyclopentyladenosine (CPA) and acetylcholine (ACh) shortened action potential duration (APD), and that the APD shortening was reversed by either the GIRK channel blocker tertiapin-Q, the adenosine A1 receptor antagonist DPCPX or by the muscarinic M2 receptor antagonist AF-DX 116. Tertiapin-Q prolonged APD in the absence of the exogenous receptor activation. Furthermore, CPA and ACh decreased the effective refractory period and the effect was reversed by either tertiapin-Q, DPCPX or AF-DX 116. Receptor activation also hyperpolarized the resting membrane potential, an effect that was reversed by tertiapin-Q. In contrast, tertiapin-Q depolarized the resting membrane potential in the absence of the exogenous receptor activation. ConclusionConfocal microscopy shows that among species GIRK4 is differentially localized in the cardiac ventricle, and that it is heterogeneously expressed across human ventricular wall. Electrophysiological recordings reveal that GIRK current may contribute significantly to ventricular repolarization and thereby to cardiac electrical stability.
Bibliographical noteFunding Information:
This work was supported by the Danish National Research Foundation (to S.P.O.); the Danish Medical Research Council (to M. G.); the NIH (HL105550 to K.W.); the Danish Heart foundation (11-04-R84-A3333-22660 and 12-04-R90-A3935-22739 to B.L.); and the Lundbeck Foundation (to T.J.).
- Action potential
- GIRK channel