Adjusting action potential duration

Author: Jason Bayer

This tutorial demonstrates how to adjust ionic model parameters to generate a specific action potential duration in your simulations. To run the experiments of this tutorial change directories as follows:


In mammalian hearts, cardiac repolarization varies between species, is spatially heterogeneous, and altered during disease. Thus, it is important to calibrate your ionic models to account for these repolarization differences. The easiest way to do this is to modify the maximum conductance for ionic currents known to alter action potential duration (APD), i.e. the time duration a cardiac myocyte repolarizes after excitation. Ideally, these values are obtained from experiments in the literature. In this exercise, you will learn how to look up the ionic current variables in your model that you can change to alter APD, and how to adjust in cable/tissue models.

Problem setup

To execute simulations of this tutorial do

Ionic model

For this example, we use the most recent version of the ten Tusscher ionic model for human ventricular myocytes [#Tusscher2006]. This ionic model is labeled TT2 in openCARP's LIMPET library.

1D cable model

For this exercise we compute APD in a 1.5 cm cable of epicardial ventricular myocytes. The model domain was discretized with linear finite elements with an average edge length of 0.02 cm.

Pacing protocol

The left side of the 1D cable model is paced with 5-ms-long stimuli at twice capture amplitude for a basic cycle length and number of beats chosen by the user.

Action potential duration

Activation potential duration is computed at 80% repolarization (\(APD_{80}\)) according to [Bayer2016]. This is achieved by using the igbutils function igbapd as illustrated below. See the igbutils tutorial for more information on using igbapd.


The following optional arguments are available (default values are indicated):


  1. List all of the ionic channel conductances in the ten tusscher model by running the command below
  1. Determine the baseline APD by running the following command.

Note, you can look at the values for the APD on each node of the cable by scrolling through the vertex values under the Highlight tab in meshalyzer.

  1. Shorten APD by >30 milliseconds by adjusting the maximal conductance for the slow outward potassium current (Iks). What is the name of the variable from the output in task 1? Did you have to increase or decrease the value?
  2. This time, prolong APD by >30 altering the plateau of the action potential by modifying the maximal conductance of the L-type calcium channel current (ICaL).

In the future, you will want to run many more beats than 2. Also, the process can be automated similar to tuneCV.


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