From Millimeters to Micrometers; Re-introducing Myocytes in Models of Cardiac Electrophysiology

Karoline Horgmo Jæger, Andrew G. Edwards, Wayne R. Giles, Aslak Tveito

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Scopus citations

Abstract

Computational modeling has contributed significantly to present understanding of cardiac electrophysiology including cardiac conduction, excitation-contraction coupling, and the effects and side-effects of drugs. However, the accuracy of in silico analysis of electrochemical wave dynamics in cardiac tissue is limited by the homogenization procedure (spatial averaging) intrinsic to standard continuum models of conduction. Averaged models cannot resolve the intricate dynamics in the vicinity of individual cardiomyocytes simply because the myocytes are not present in these models. Here we demonstrate how recently developed mathematical models based on representing every myocyte can significantly increase the accuracy, and thus the utility of modeling electrophysiological function and dysfunction in collections of coupled cardiomyocytes. The present gold standard of numerical simulation for cardiac electrophysiology is based on the bidomain model. In the bidomain model, the extracellular (E) space, the cell membrane (M) and the intracellular (I) space are all assumed to be present everywhere in the tissue. Consequently, it is impossible to study biophysical processes taking place close to individual myocytes. The bidomain model represents the tissue by averaging over several hundred myocytes and this inherently limits the accuracy of the model. In our alternative approach both E, M, and I are represented in the model which is therefore referred to as the EMI model. The EMI model approach allows for detailed analysis of the biophysical processes going on in functionally important spaces very close to individual myocytes, although at the cost of significantly increased CPU-requirements.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number763584
JournalFrontiers in Physiology
Volume12
DOIs
StatePublished - Oct 27 2021
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • action potential propagation
  • cardiac disease
  • cardiac modeling
  • cell based model
  • computational electrophysiology
  • computational modeling
  • conduction abnormalities
  • EMI model

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Physiology (medical)

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