Enhancement of ventricular gap-junction coupling by rotigaptide

Xianming Lin, Christian Zemlin, James K. Hennan, Jørgen S. Petersen, Richard D. Veenstra

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

24 Scopus citations


Aims: Rotigaptide is proposed to exert its anti-arrhythmic effects by improving myocardial gap-junction communication. To directly investigate the mechanisms of rotigaptide action, we treated cultured neonatal murine ventricular cardiomyocytes with clinical pharmacological doses of rotigaptide and directly determined its effects on gap-junctional currents. Methods and results: Neonatal murine ventricular cardiomyocytes were enzymatically isolated and cultured for 1-4 days. Primary culture cell pairs were subjected to dual whole cell patch-clamp procedures to directly measure gap-junctional currents (Ij) and voltage (Vj). Rotigaptide (0-350 nM) was applied overnight or acutely perfused into 35 mm culture dishes. Rotigaptide (35-100 nM) acutely and chronically increased the resting gap-junction conductance (g j), and normalized steady-state minimum gj (G min) by 5-20%. Higher concentrations produced a diminishing response, which mimics the observed therapeutic efficacy of the drug. The inactivation kinetics was similarly slowed in a therapeutic concentration-dependent manner without affecting the Vj dependence of inactivation or recovery. The effects of 0-100 nM rotigaptide on ventricular gj during cardiac action potential propagation were accurately modelled by computer simulations which demonstrate that clinically effective concentrations of rotigaptide can partially reverse conduction slowing due to decreases in gj and inactivation. Conclusion: These results demonstrate that therapeutic concentrations of rotigaptide increase the resting gap-junction conductance and reduce the magnitude and kinetics of steady-state inactivation in a concentration-dependent manner. Rotigaptide may be effective in treating re-entrant forms of cardiac arrhythmias by improving conduction and preventing the formation of re-entrant circuits in partially uncoupled myocardium.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)416-426
Number of pages11
JournalCardiovascular Research
Issue number3
StatePublished - Aug 2008


  • Antiarrhythmic agents
  • Cell communication
  • Connexins
  • Gap junctions
  • Rotigaptide


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