Background: Right ventricular outflow tract (RVOT) is a common source of ventricular tachycardia, which often requires ablation. However, the mechanisms underlying the RVOT's unique arrhythmia susceptibility remain poorly understood due to lack of detailed electrophysiological and molecular studies of the human RVOT. Methods: We conducted optical mapping studies in 16 nondiseased donor human RVOT preparations subjected to pharmacologically induced adrenergic and cholinergic stimulation to evaluate susceptibility to arrhythmias and characterize arrhythmia dynamics. Results: We found that under control conditions, RVOT has shorter action potential duration at 80% repolarization relative to the right ventricular apical region. Treatment with isoproterenol (100 nM) shortened action potential duration at 80% repolarization and increased incidence of premature ventricular contractions (P=0.003), whereas acetylcholine (100 μM) stimulation alone had no effect on action potential duration at 80% repolarization or premature ventricular contractions. However, acetylcholine treatment after isoproterenol stimulation reduced the incidence of premature ventricular contractions (P=0.034) and partially reversed action potential duration at 80% repolarization shortening (P=0.029). Immunolabeling of RVOT (n=4) confirmed the presence of cholinergic marker VAChT (vesicular acetylcholine transporter) in the region. Rapid pacing revealed RVOT susceptibility to both concordant and discordant alternans. Investigation into transmural arrhythmia dynamics showed that arrhythmia wave fronts and phase singularities (rotors) were relatively more organized in the endocardium than in the epicardium (P=0.006). Moreover, there was a weak but positive spatiotemporal autocorrelation between epicardial and endocardial arrhythmic wave fronts and rotors. Transcriptome analysis (n=10 hearts) suggests a trend that MAPK (mitogen-activated protein kinase) signaling, calcium signaling, and cGMP-PKG (protein kinase G) signaling are among the pathways that may be enriched in the male RVOT, whereas pathways of neurodegeneration may be enriched in the female RVOT. Conclusions: Human RVOT electrophysiology is characterized by shorter action potential duration relative to the right ventricular apical region. Cholinergic right ventricular stimulation attenuates the arrhythmogenic effects of adrenergic stimulation, including increase in frequency of premature ventricular contractions and shortening of wavelength. Right ventricular arrhythmia is characterized by positive spatial-temporal autocorrelation between epicardial-endocardial arrhythmic wave fronts and rotors that are relatively more organized in the endocardium.
- heart ventricles
- ventricular premature complexes
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
- Physiology (medical)