Expression of connexin 43, ion channels and Ca2+-handling proteins in rat pulmonary vein cardiomyocytes

Yaqiong Xiao, Xue Cai, Andrew Atkinson, Sunil Logantha, Mark Boyett, Halina Dobrzynski

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. AF is thought to be triggered by ectopic beats, originating primarily in the myocardial sleeves surrounding the pulmonary veins (PVs). The mechanisms underlying these cardiac arrhythmias remain unclear. To investigate this, frozen sections of heart and lung tissue from adult rats without arrhythmia were obtained in different planes, stained with Masson's trichrome, and immunolabeled for connexin 43 (Cx43), caveolin‑3 (Cav3), hyperpolarization‑activated cyclic nucleotide‑gated channel 4 (HCN4), Nav1.5, Kir2.1, and the calcium handling proteins sarcoplasmic/endoplasmic reticulum calcium‑ATPase 2a (SERCA2a) and ryanodine receptor 2 (RyR2). Transverse sections offered the best view of the majority of the PVs in the tissue samples. Cx43 was observed to be expressed throughout the atria, excluding the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes, and in the myocardial sleeves of the PVs. In contrast, HCN4 was only expressed in the sinoatrial and atrioventricular nodes. The immunodensity of Cav3, Nav1.5, Kir2.1, SERCA2a and RyR2 in the PVs imaged was similar to that in atria. The results suggest that in the absence of arrhythmia, the investigated molecular properties of the ion channels of rat PV cardiomyocytes resemble those of the working myocardium. This indicates that ectopic beats originating in the myocardial sleeves of the PVs occur only under pathological conditions.
Original languageEnglish
JournalExperimental and Therapeutic Medicine
Early online date3 Oct 2016
Publication statusPublished - 2016


  • Pulmonary vein cardiomyocytes
  • Atrial fibrillation
  • Immunohistochemistry
  • Histology
  • Lung
  • heart


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