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Alterations In Electrical Activity And Membrane Currents Induced By Intracellular Oxygen-derived Free Radical Stress In Guinea Pig Ventricular Myocytes.

R I Jabr, W C Cole

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Oxygen-derived free radicals (O-Rs) are thought to induce alterations in cardiac electrical activity; however, the underlying membrane ionic currents affected by O-Rs and the mechanisms by which O-Rs induce their effects on ion channels in the heart are not well defined. In this study, we investigated the time-dependent changes in resting membrane potential and action potential configuration and changes in steady-state membrane currents in guinea pig ventricular myocytes after intracellular application of an O-R-generating system. O-Rs were generated from the combination of dihydroxyfumaric acid (3 mM) and FeCl3:ADP (0.05:0.5 mM) added to the pipette solution that was used to record membrane potential and currents via the whole-cell variant of the patch-clamp technique. Intracellular exposure of myocytes to the O-R-generating solution induced three stages of changes: 1) an early depolarization (5-10 mV) and an increase in action potential duration accompanied by a decrease in resting inward rectifying K+ current conductance, 2) delayed afterdepolarizations and triggered activity caused by the activation of transient inward current mediated by Na(+)-Ca2+ exchange, with failure to repolarize and sustained depolarization between -35 and -20 mV, reflecting the stimulation of nonselective cation current, and 3) a late stage of marked decline in action potential duration, hyperpolarization, and loss of excitability accompanied by activation of the outward current through ATP-sensitive K+ channels. These alterations in electrical activity and membrane currents could be prevented by pretreatment with N-(2-mercaptopropionyl)glycine (500 microM), a scavenger of hydroxyl free radicals. The alterations associated with stages 1 and 2 but not stage 3 were completely abolished on intracellular Ca2+ chelation (5 mM EGTA in the pipette solution) or disruption of sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ handling with ryanodine (10 microM). This study shows that intracellular O-R stress causes specific alterations in membrane ionic currents, leading to changes in resting membrane potential and action potential configuration. Moreover, the data indicate that an elevation in intracellular Ca2+ due to abnormal Ca2+ handling by the sarcoplasmic reticulum is a cause of some of the alterations in membrane currents during O-R stress.