Ion channels of the heart

Authored by: Donald M. Bers , Grandi Eleonora

Handbook of Ion Channels

Print publication date:  February  2015
Online publication date:  February  2015

Print ISBN: 9781466551404
eBook ISBN: 9781466551428
Adobe ISBN:


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The action potential (AP) is a transient cell membrane depolarization emerging from the dynamic behavior of a diverse population of membrane ion channels. A prototypical ventricular myocyte AP, simulated with our human ventricular cell model (Grandi et al. 2010), is shown in Figure 39.1a and exhibits a steep upstroke, followed by a sustained slowly decaying plateau phase, which eventually gives way to rapid repolarization. Below the AP are shown the associated depolarizing currents, which are carried by inward Na+ and Ca2+ currents. Under physiological conditions, the Na+ current (INa) activates rapidly, producing the AP upstroke, and then inactivates nearly completely (Figure 39.1b). The L-type Ca2+ current (ICaL) inactivates more slowly (Figure 39.1b), and less completely, allowing for the inward Ca2+ current to maintain the AP plateau phase.

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