Background. Pulmonary veins (PVs) are the most important sources of ectopic beats with the initiation of paroxysmal atrial fibrillation, or the foci of ectopic atrial tachycardia and focal atrial fibrillation. Elimination of nitric oxide (NO) enhances cardiac triggered activity, and NO can decrease PV arrhythmogensis through mechano-electrical feedback. However, it is not clear whether NO may have direct electrophysiological effects on PV cardiomyocytes. This study is aimed to study the effects of nitroprusside (NO donor), on the ionic currents and arrhythmogenic activity of single cardiomyocytes from the PVs. Methods. Single PV cardiomyocytes were isolated from the canine PVs. The action potential and ionic currents were investigated in isolated single canine PV cardiomyocytes before and after sodium nitroprusside (80 M,) using the whole-cell patch clamp technique. Results. Nitroprusside decreased PV cardiomyocytes spontaneous beating rates from 1.7 0.3 Hz to 0.5 0.4 Hz in 9 cells (P < 0.05); suppressed delayed afterdepolarization in 4 (80%) of 5 PV cardiomyocytes. Nitroprusside inhibited L-type calcium currents, transient outward currents and transient inward current, but increased delayed rectified potassium currents. Conclusion. Nitroprusside regulates the electrical activity of PV cardiomyocytes, which suggests that NO may play a role in PV arrhythmogenesis.
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