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Species-dependent adaptation of the cardiac Na+/K+ pump kinetics to the intracellular Na+ concentration

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Original languageEnglish
JournalThe Journal of physiology
Publication statusE-pub ahead of print - 2014

King's Authors


The Na(+)/K(+) ATPase (NKA) plays a critical role in maintaining ionic homeostasis and dynamic function in cardiac myocytes, within both the in-vivo cell and in-silico models. Physiological conditions differ significantly between mammalian species. However, most existing formulations of NKA used to simulate cardiac function in computational models are derived from a broad range of experimental sources spanning many animal species. The resultant inability of these models to discern species-specific features is a significant obstacle to achieving a detailed quantitative and comparative understanding of physiological behaviour in different biological contexts. Here we present a framework for characterising the steady-state NKA current using a biophysical mechanistic model specifically designed to provide a mechanistic explanation of the NKA flux supported by self-consistent species-specific data. We thus compared NKA kinetics specific to guinea- pig and rat ventricular myocytes. We observe that the apparent binding affinity for sodium in the rat is significantly lower, whereas the overall pump cycle rate is doubled, in comparison to the guinea pig. This sensitivity of NKA to its regulatory substrates compensates the differences in Na(+) concentrations between the cell types. NKA is thereby maintained within its dynamic range over a wide range of pacing frequencies in these two species, despite significant disparities in sodium concentration. Hence, by replacing a conventional generic NKA model with our rat-specific NKA formula into a whole-cell simulation, we have, for the first time, been able to accurately reproduce the action potential duration and the steady-state sodium concentration as functions of the pacing frequency.

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