Cardiac aging, calcium overload, and arrhythmias

Roberto Bernabei, Antonio Sgadari, Giovanni Gambassi, Pierugo Carbonin, Maria Serena Di Gennaro, M Pahor

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

7 Citations (Scopus)


The effect of aging was tested on experimental ventricular arrhythmias in isolated heart preparations from normal Wistar rats (NWR), Wistar Kyoto rats (WKY), and spontaneously hypertensive rats (SHR). Delayed afterdepolarizations and triggered activity induced by high-calcium perfusion (16 mM) in isolated papillary muscles were more frequent in the 24-month-old than in 6-month-old NWR. Reperfusion-VA were more severe in 14-month-old SHR than in WKY. The authors have previously shown that: (1) reperfusion- and reoxygenation-induced VA, in the isolated Langendorff perfused heart, were significantly more severe and frequent in 24-month-old than in 6-month-old NWR; (2) no age-related difference in the incidence of programmed electrical stimulation (PES, train of stimuli + 1 or 2 extrastimuli)-induced VA was observed in isolated NWR hearts during control perfusion, after coronary artery ligation or during hypoxia; (3) on the contrary, the incidence of PES-induced VA was significantly higher in isolated hearts from 14-month-old SHR than from 3-month-old SHR, and 3-month-old and 14-month-old WKY. It was concluded that "physiological" aging is associated with a higher propensity to calcium-related VA, while "pathological" aging characterized by hypertension of long duration increases the incidence of PES-induced VA, probably caused by myocardial fibrosis, which could facilitate reentry.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)261-268
Number of pages8
JournalExperimental Gerontology
Publication statusPublished - 1990


  • Aging
  • Animals
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac
  • Calcium
  • Electric Stimulation
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart Ventricles
  • Male
  • Models, Biological
  • Rats
  • Rats, Inbred SHR
  • Rats, Inbred Strains
  • Rats, Inbred WKY


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