Altered k+ current profiles underlie cardiac action potential shortening in hyperkalemia and β-adrenergic stimulation

Bence Hegyi, Ye Chen-Izu, Leighton T Izu, Tamás Bányász

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

2 Scopus citations


Hyperkalemia is known to develop in various conditions including vigorous physical exercise. In the heart, hyperkalemia is associated with action potential (AP) shortening that was attributed to altered gating of K+ channels. However, it remains unknown how hyperkalemia changes the profiles of each K+ current under a cardiac AP. Therefore, we recorded the major K+ currents (inward rectifier K+ current, IK1; rapid and slow delayed rectifier K+ currents, IKr and IKs, respectively) using AP-clamp in rabbit ventricular myocytes. As K+ may accumulate at rapid heart rates during sympathetic stimulation, we also examined the effect of isoproterenol on these K+ currents. We found that IK1 was significantly increased in hyperkalemia, whereas the reduction of driving force for K+ efflux dominated over the altered channel gating in case of IKr and IKs. Overall, the markedly increased IK1 in hyperkalemia overcame the relative decreases of IKr and IKs during AP, resulting in an increased net repolarizing current during AP phase 3. β-Adrenergic stimulation of IKs also provided further repolarizing power during sympathetic activation, although hyperkalemia limited IKs upregulation. These results indicate that facilitation of IK1 in hyperkalemia and β-adrenergic stimulation of IKs represent important compensatory mechanisms against AP prolongation and arrhythmia susceptibility.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)773-780
Number of pages8
JournalCanadian Journal of Physiology and Pharmacology
Issue number8
StatePublished - Jan 1 2019


  • Action potential voltage-clamp
  • Arrhythmia
  • Cellular electrophysiology
  • Heart
  • Hyperkalemia
  • Physical exercise
  • Potassium channels
  • Sympathetic stimulation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Pharmacology
  • Physiology (medical)


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