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A Computational Model of the Ionic Currents, Ca2+ Dynamics and Action Potentials Underlying Contraction of Isolated Uterine Smooth Muscle

By Wing-Chiu Tong, Cecilia Y. Choi, Sanjay Karche, Arun V. Holden, Henggui Zhang and Michael J. Taggart


Uterine contractions during labor are discretely regulated by rhythmic action potentials (AP) of varying duration and form that serve to determine calcium-dependent force production. We have employed a computational biology approach to develop a fuller understanding of the complexity of excitation-contraction (E-C) coupling of uterine smooth muscle cells (USMC). Our overall aim is to establish a mathematical platform of sufficient biophysical detail to quantitatively describe known uterine E-C coupling parameters and thereby inform future empirical investigations of physiological and pathophysiological mechanisms governing normal and dysfunctional labors. From published and unpublished data we construct mathematical models for fourteen ionic currents of USMCs: currents (L- and T-type), current, an hyperpolarization-activated current, three voltage-gated currents, two -activated current, -activated current, non-specific cation current, - exchanger, - pump and background current. The magnitudes and kinetics of each current system in a spindle shaped single cell with a specified surface area∶volume ratio is described by differential equations, in terms of maximal conductances, electrochemical gradient, voltage-dependent activation/inactivation gating variables and temporal changes in intracellular computed from known fluxes. These quantifications are validated by the reconstruction of the individual experimental ionic currents obtained under voltage-clamp. Phasic contraction is modeled in relation to the time constant of changing . This integrated model is validated by its reconstruction of the different USMC AP configurations (spikes, plateau and bursts of spikes), the change from bursting to plateau type AP produced by estradiol and of simultaneous experimental recordings of spontaneous AP, and phasic force. In summary, our advanced mathematical model provides a powerful tool to investigate the physiological ionic mechanisms underlying the genesis of uterine electrical E-C coupling of labor and parturition. This will furnish the evolution of descriptive and predictive quantitative models of myometrial electrogenesis at the whole cell and tissue levels

Topics: Research Article
Publisher: Public Library of Science
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Provided by: PubMed Central

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