Proarrhythmic risk of conventional anti-arrhythmic agents is linked to unintended modulation of membrane voltage dynamics. We have demonstrated that the anti-fibrillatory effect of azumolene is mediated via stabilization of the hyperphosphorylated ryanodine receptor (RyR2), leading to attenuation of diastolic calcium leak. However, the concomitant effects on membrane voltage dynamics have not been evaluated yet.
After baseline optical mapping, Langendorff-perfused rabbit hearts treated with azumolene, or vehicle, were subjected to global ischemia-reperfusion (I/R) followed by two episodes of long-duration ventricular fibrillation (LDVF). Simultaneous dual epicardial calcium transient (CaT) and voltage dynamics were studied optically.
Pre-treatment with azumolene was associated with higher CaT amplitude alternans ratios (0.94 ± 0.02 vs. 0.78 ± 0.03 in control hearts, at 6 Hz; p = 0.005; and action potential amplitude alternans ratio (0.95 ± 0.02 vs. 0.78 ± 0.04 at 6.0 Hz; p = 0.02), and reduction of action potential duration (APD) dispersion (9.0 ± 4.8 msec vs. 19.3 ± 6.6 msec at 6.0 Hz p = 0.02) and optical action potential upstroke rise time (26.3 ± 2.6 msec in control vs. 13.8 ± 0.6 msec at 6.0 Hz, p = 0.02) after LDVF. No change in action potential duration (APD) was noted with azumolene treatment.
In a model of ischemic recurrent LDVF, treatment with azumolene led to reduction of cardiac alternans, i.e., calcium and voltage alternans. Unlike conventional anti-arrhythmic agents, reduction of action potential upstroke rise time and preservation of action potential duration following azumolene treatment may reduce the proarrhythmia risk.

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