Estradiol promotes sudden cardiac death in transgenic long QT type 2 rabbits while progesterone is protective

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BACKGROUND: Postpubertal women with inherited long QT syndrome type 2 (LQT2) are at increased risk for polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (pVT) and sudden cardiac death (SCD), particularly during the postpartum period. OBJECTIVE: To investigate whether sex hormones directly modulate the arrhythmogenic risk in LQTS. METHODS: Prepubertal ovariectomized transgenic LQT2 rabbits were treated with estradiol (EST), progesterone (PROG), dihydrotestosterone (DHT), or placebo (OVX). RESULTS: During 8 weeks of treatment, major cardiac events-spontaneous pVT or SCD-occurred in 5 of the 7 EST rabbits and in 2 of the 9 OVX rabbits (P <.05); in contrast, no events occurred in 9 PROG rabbits and 6 DHT rabbits (P <.01 vs PROG; P <.05 vs DHT). Moreover, EST increased the incidence of pVT (P <.05 vs OVX), while PROG reduced premature ventricular contractions, bigeminy, couplets, triplets, and pVT (P <.01 vs OVX; P <.001 vs EST). In vivo electrocardiographic monitoring, in vivo electrophysiological studies, and ex vivo optical mapping studies revealed that EST promoted SCD by steepening the QT/RR slope (P <.05), by prolonging cardiac refractoriness (P <.05), and by altering the spatial pattern of action potential duration dispersion. Isoproterenol-induced Ca2+ oscillations resulted in early afterdepolarizations in EST-treated hearts (4 of 4), while PROG prevented SCD by eliminating this early afterdepolarization formation in 4 of the 7 hearts (P = .058 vs EST; P <.05 vs OVX). Analyses of ion currents demonstrated that EST increased the density of ICa,L as compared with OVX (P <.05) while PROG decreased it (P <.05). CONCLUSION: This study reveals the proarrhythmic effect of EST and the antiarrhythmic effect of PROG in LQT2 in vivo, outlining a new potential antiarrhythmic therapy for LQTS. © 2012 Heart Rhythm Society.




Odening, K. E., Choi, B. R., Liu, G. X., Hartmann, K., Ziv, O., Chaves, L., … Koren, G. (2012). Estradiol promotes sudden cardiac death in transgenic long QT type 2 rabbits while progesterone is protective. Heart Rhythm, 9(5), 823–832.

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