Computational Model of Calcium Signaling in Cardiac Atrial Cells at the Submicron Scale
Rights accessOpen Access
In cardiac cells, calcium is the mediator of excitation-contraction coupling. Dysfunctions in calcium handling have been identified as the origin of some cardiac arrhythmias. In the particular case of atrial myocytes, recent available experimental data has found links between these dysfunctions and structural changes in the calcium handling machinery (ryanodine cluster size and distribution, t-tubular network, etc). To address this issue, we have developed a computational model of an atrial myocyte that takes into account the detailed intracellular structure. The homogenized macroscopic behavior is described with a two-concentration field model, using effective diffusion coefficients of calcium in the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) and in the cytoplasm. The model reproduces the right calcium transients and dependence with pacing frequency. Under basal conditions, the calcium rise is mostly restricted to the periphery of the cell, with a large concentration ratio between the periphery and the interior. We have then studied the dependence of the speed of the calcium wave on cytosolic and SR diffusion coefficients, finding an almost linear relation with the former, in agreement with a diffusive and fire mechanism of propagation, and little dependence on the latter. Finally, we have studied the effect of a change in RyR cluster microstructure. We find that, under resting conditions, the spark frequency decreases slightly with RyR cluster spatial dispersion, but markedly increases when the RyRs are distributed in clusters of larger size, stressing the importance of RyR cluster organization to understand atrial arrhythmias, as recent experimental results suggest (Macquaide et al., 2015).
CitationMarchena, M.; Echebarria, B. Computational Model of Calcium Signaling in Cardiac Atrial Cells at the Submicron Scale. "Frontiers in Physiology", 10 Desembre 2018, vol. 9, p. 1-14.