Prog Biophys Mol Biol
The function of the ventricular specialized conduction system in the heart is to ensure the coordinated electrical activation of the ventricles. It is therefore critical to the overall function of the heart, and has also been implicated as an important player in various diseases, including lethal ventricular arrhythmias such as ventricular fibrillation and drug-induced torsades de pointes. However, current ventricular models of electrophysiology usually ignore, or include highly simplified representations of the specialized conduction system. Here, we describe the development of an image-based, species-consistent, anatomically-detailed model of rabbit ventricular electrophysiology that incorporates a detailed description of the free-running part of the specialized conduction system. Techniques used for the construction of the geometrical model of the specialized conduction system from a magnetic resonance dataset and integration of the system model into a ventricular anatomical model, developed from the same dataset, are described. Computer simulations of rabbit ventricular electrophysiology are conducted using the novel anatomical model and rabbit-specific membrane kinetics to investigate the importance of the components and properties of the conduction system in determining ventricular function under physiological conditions. Simulation results are compared to panoramic optical mapping experiments for model validation and results interpretation. Full access is provided to the anatomical models developed in this study.
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