Conduction velocity (CV) restitution is a key property that characterizes any medium supporting traveling waves. It reflects not only the dynamics of the individual constituents but also the coupling mechanism that mediates their interaction. Recent studies have suggested that cardiac tissues, which have a non-monotonic CV-restitution property, can support alternans, a period-2 oscillatory response of periodically paced cardiac tissue. This study finds that single-hump, non-monotonic, CV-restitution curves are a common feature of in vitro cultures of rat cardiac cells. We also find that the Fenton-Karma model, one of the well-established mathematical models of cardiac tissue, supports a very similar non-monotonic CV restitution in a physiologically relevant parameter regime. Surprisingly, the mathematical model as well as the cell cultures support bistability and show cardiac memory that tends to work against the generation of an alternans. Bistability was realized by adopting two different stimulation protocols, 'S1S2', which produces a period-1 wave train, and 'alternans-pacing', which favors a concordant alternans. Thus, we conclude that the single-hump non-monotonicity in the CV-restitution curve is not sufficient to guarantee a cardiac alternans, since cardiac memory interferes and the way the system is paced matters.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Physics and Astronomy(all)