Phenotypic differences in transient outward K+ current of human and canine ventricular myocytes: Insights into molecular composition of ventricular Ito

Fadi G. Akar, Richard C. Wu, Isabelle Deschenes, Antonis A. Armoundas, Valentino Piacentino, Steven R. Houser, Gordon F. Tomaselli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

86 Scopus citations


The Ca2+-independent transient outward K+ current (Ito) plays an important electrophysiological role in normal and diseased hearts. However, its contribution to ventricular repolarization remains controversial because of differences in its phenotypic expression and function across species. The dog, a frequently used model of human cardiac disease, exhibits altered functional expression of Ito. To better understand the relevance of electrical remodeling in dogs to humans, we studied the phenotypic differences in ventricular Ito of both species with electrophysiological, pharmacological, and protein-chemical techniques. Several notable distinctions were elucidated, including slower current decay, more rapid recovery from inactivation, and a depolarizing shift of steady-state inactivation in human vs. canine Ito. Whereas recovery from inactivation of human Ito followed a monoexponential time course, canine Ito recovered with biexponential kinetics. Pharmacological sensitivity to flecainide was markedly greater in human than canine I to, and exposure to oxidative stress did not alter the inactivation kinetics of Ito in either species. Western blot analysis revealed immunoreactive bands specific for Kv4.3, Kv1.4, and Kv channel-interacting protein (KChIP)2 in dog and human, but with notable differences in band sizes across species. We report for the first time major variations in phenotypic properties of human and canine ventricular Ito despite the presence of the same subunit proteins in both species. These data suggest that differences in electrophysiological and pharmacological properties of I to between humans and dogs are not caused by differential expression of the K channel subunit genes thought to encode Ito, but rather may arise from differences in molecular structure and/or posttranslational modification of these subunits.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)H602-H609
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number2 55-2
StatePublished - Feb 2004
Externally publishedYes


  • Kv channel-interacting protein
  • Potassium channels
  • Repolarization
  • Transient outward current

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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