Computational analysis of the mode of action of disopyramide and quinidine on hERG-linked short QT syndrome in human ventricles

Dominic G Whittaker, Haibo Ni, Alan P Benson, Jules C Hancox, Henggui Zhang

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

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The short QT syndrome (SQTS) is a rare cardiac disorder associated with arrhythmias and sudden death. Gain-of-function mutations to potassium channels mediating the rapid delayed rectifier current, IKr, underlie SQTS variant 1 (SQT1), in which treatment with Na(+) and K(+) channel blocking class Ia anti-arrhythmic agents has demonstrated some efficacy. This study used computational modeling to gain mechanistic insights into the actions of two such drugs, disopyramide and quinidine, in the setting of SQT1. The O'Hara-Rudy (ORd) human ventricle model was modified to incorporate a Markov chain formulation of IKr describing wild type (WT) and SQT1 mutant conditions. Effects of multi-channel block by disopyramide and quinidine, including binding kinetics and altered potency of IKr/hERG channel block in SQT1 and state-dependent block of sodium channels, were simulated on action potential and multicellular tissue models. A one-dimensional (1D) transmural ventricular strand model was used to assess prolongation of the QT interval, effective refractory period (ERP), and re-entry wavelength (WL) by both drugs. Dynamics of re-entrant excitation waves were investigated using a 3D human left ventricular wedge model. In the setting of SQT1, disopyramide, and quinidine both produced a dose-dependent prolongation in (i) the QT interval, which was primarily due to IKr block, and (ii) the ERP, which was mediated by a synergistic combination of IKr and INa block. Over the same range of concentrations quinidine was more effective in restoring the QT interval, due to more potent block of IKr. Both drugs demonstrated an anti-arrhythmic increase in the WL of re-entrant circuits. In the 3D wedge, disopyramide and quinidine at clinically-relevant concentrations decreased the dominant frequency of re-entrant excitations and exhibited anti-fibrillatory effects; preventing formation of multiple, chaotic wavelets which developed in SQT1, and could terminate arrhythmias. This computational modeling study provides novel insights into the clinical efficacy of disopyramide and quinidine in the setting of SQT1; it also dissects ionic mechanisms underlying QT and ERP prolongation. Our findings show that both drugs demonstrate efficacy in reversing the SQT1 phenotype, and indicate that disopyramide warrants further investigation as an alternative to quinidine in the treatment of SQT1.

Original languageEnglish
Article number759
Number of pages15
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Publication statusPublished - 4 Oct 2017


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