Altered sinoatrial node function and intra-atrial conduction in murine gain-of-function Scn5a+/ΔKPQ hearts suggest an overlap syndrome.
Wu J., Zhang Y., Zhang X., Cheng L., Lammers WJ., Grace AA., Fraser JA., Zhang H., Huang CL-H., Lei M.
Mutations in SCN5A, the gene encoding the pore-forming subunit of cardiac Na(+) channels, cause a spectrum of arrhythmic syndromes. Of these, sinoatrial node (SAN) dysfunction occurs in patients with both loss- and gain-of-function SCN5A mutations. We explored for corresponding alterations in SAN function and intracardiac conduction and clarified possible mechanisms underlying these in an established mouse long QT syndrome type 3 model carrying a mutation equivalent to human SCN5A-ΔKPQ. Electrophysiological characterizations of SAN function in living animals and in vitro sinoatrial preparations were compared with cellular SAN and two-dimensional tissue models exploring the consequences of Scn5a+/ΔKPQ mutations. Scn5a+/ΔKPQ mice showed prolonged electrocardiographic QT and corrected QT intervals confirming long QT phenotypes. They showed frequent episodes of sinus bradycardia, sinus pause/arrest, and significantly longer sinus node recovery times, suggesting compromised pacemaker activity compared with wild-type mice. Electrocardiographic waveforms suggested depressed intra-atrial, atrioventricular node, and intraventricular conduction in Scn5a+/ΔKPQ mice. Isolated Scn5a+/ΔKPQ sinoatrial preparations similarly showed lower mean intrinsic heart rates and overall slower conduction through the SAN to the surrounding atrium than did wild-type preparations. Computer simulations of both single SAN cells as well as two-dimensional SAN-atrial models could reproduce the experimental observations of impaired pacemaker and sinoatrial conduction in terms of changes produced by both augmented tail and reduced total Na(+) currents, respectively. In conclusion, the gain-of-function long QT syndrome type 3 murine Scn5a+/ΔKPQ cardiac system, in overlap with corresponding features reported in loss-of-function Na(+) channel mutations, shows compromised SAN pacemaker and conduction function explicable in modeling studies through a combination of augmented tail and reduced peak Na(+) currents.