Rate-related suppression and facilitation of conduction in isolated canine cardiac Purkinje fibers

R. F. Gilmour, J. J. Salata, D. P. Zipes

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13 Scopus citations


Previous studies have shown that antegrade conduction through damaged His Purkinje tissue may be suppressed following rapid ventricular pacing (overdrive suppression of conduction). We studied this phenomenon using isolated Purkinje fibers placed in a three-chamber bath. Superfusates for the left, middle, and right segments of the fiber were altered to produce action potentials that resembled those of normal bundle branch, damaged His bundle, and normal His bundle, respectively. To produce anisotropic conduction, the left segment of the fiber was adjusted to be three to four times longer than the right segment. Pacing the right segment at intermediate rates produced maximal action potential amplitude in the middle segment and 1:1 right-to-left conduction, whereas pacing at faster or slower rates reduced action potential amplitude and produced block. Pacing the left segment at fast or slow rates also reduced action potential amplitude in the middle segment, but conduction was maintained (anisotropy). After rapid or slow left segment pacing, action potential amplitude in the middle segment remained low during subsequent right segment pacing at intermediate rates, and transient block occurred (overdrive or underdrive suppression of conduction). With time, action potential amplitude normalized and conduction resumed. In other more severely depressed preparations, conduction block occurred even at intermediate right segment pacing rates prior to left segment pacing. Under these conditions, pacing the left segment at intermediate rates increased action potential amplitude in the middle segment and temporarily permitted 1:1 conduction at intermediate right segment pacing rates (overdrive facilitation of conduction). These observations suggest that overdrive and underdrive suppression of conduction and overdrive facilitation of conduction are related phenomena whose occurrence requires anisotropy across a region of depressed cells, biphasic, primarily time-dependent changes of diastolic excitability in the depressed cells, and voltage-dependent excitability in normal cells surrounding the depressed region. These results may have implications for rate-dependent block in the His Purkinje system.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)35-45
Number of pages11
JournalCirculation research
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 1985


ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine

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