## Abstract

Equations have been developed to describe cardiac action potentials and pacemaker activity. The model takes account of extensive developments in experimental work since the formulation of the M.N.T. (R. E. McAllister, D. Noble and R. W. Tsien, J. Physiol., Lond. 251, 1-59 (1975)) and B.R. (G. W. Beeler and H. Reuter, J. Physiol., Lond. 268, 177-210 (1977)) equations. The current mechanism i<latex>$_{K2}$</latex> has been replaced by the hyperpolarizing-activated current, i<latex>$_f$</latex>. Depletion and accumulation of potassium ions in the extracellular space are represented either by partial differential equations for diffusion in cylindrical or spherical preparations or, when such accuracy is not essential, by a three-compartment model in which the extracellular concentration in the intercellular space is uniform. The description of the delayed K current, i<latex>$_K$</latex>, remains based on the work of D. Noble and R. W. Tsien (J. Physiol., Lond. 200, 205-231 (1969a)). The instantaneous inward-rectifier, i<latex>$_{K1}$</latex>, is based on S. Hagiwara and K. Takahashi's equation (J. Membrane Biol. 18, 61-80 (1974)) and on the patch clamp studies of B. Sakmann and G. Trube (J. Physiol., Lond. 347, 641-658 (1984)) and of Y. Momose, G. Szabo and W. R. Giles (Biophys. J. 41, 311a (1983)). The equations successfully account for all the properties formerly attributed to i<latex>$_{K2}$</latex>, as well as giving more complete descriptions of i<latex>$_{K1}$</latex> and i<latex>$_K$</latex>. The sodium current equations are based on experimental data of T. J. Colatsky (J. Physiol., Lond. 305, 215-234 (1980)) and A. M. Brown, K. S. Lee and T. Powell (J. Physiol., Lond. 318, 479-500 (1981)). The equations correctly reproduce the range and magnitude of the sodium `window' current. The second inward current is based in part on the data of H. Reuter and H. Scholz (J. Physiol., Lond. 264, 17-47 (1977)) and K. S. Lee and R. W. Tsien (Nature, Lond. 297, 498-501 (1982)) so far as the ion selectivity is concerned. However, the activation and inactivation gating kinetics have been greatly speeded up to reproduce the very much faster currents recorded in recent work. A major consequence of this change is that Ca current inactivation mostly occurs very early in the action potential plateau. The sodium-potassium exchange pump equations are based on data reported by D. C. Gadsby (Proc. natn. Acad. Sci. U.S.A. 77, 4035-4039 (1980)) and by D. A. Eisner and W. J. Lederer (J. Physiol., Lond. 303, 441-474 (1980)). The sodium-calcium exchange current is based on L. J. Mullins' equations (J. gen. Physiol. 70, 681-695 (1977)). Intracellular calcium sequestration is represented by simple equations for uptake into a reticulum store which then reprimes a release store. The repriming equations use the data of W. R. Gibbons & H. A. Fozzard (J. gen. Physiol. 65, 367-384 (1975b)). Following Fabiato & Fabiato's work (J. Physiol., Lond. 249, 469-495 (1975)), Ca release is assumed to be triggered by intracellular free calcium. The equations reproduce the essential features of intracellular free calcium transients as measured with aequorin. The explanatory range of the model entirely includes and greatly extends that of the M.N.T. equations. Despite the major changes made, the overall time-course of the conductance changes to potassium ions strongly resembles that of the M.N.T. model. There are however important differences in the time courses of Na and Ca conductance changes. The Na conductance now includes a component due to the hyperpolarizing-activated current, i<latex>$_f$</latex>, which slowly increases during the pacemaker depolarization. The Ca conductance changes are very much faster than in the M.N.T. model so that in action potentials longer than about 50 ms the primary contribution of the fast gated calcium channel to the plateau is due to a steady-state `window' current or non-inactivated component. Slower calcium or Ca-activated currents, such as the Na-Ca exchange current, or Ca-gated currents, or a much slower Ca channel must then play the dynamic role previously attributed to the kinetics of a single type of calcium channel. This feature of the model in turn means that the repolarization process should be related to the inotropic state, as indicated by experimental work. The model successfully reproduces intracellular sodium concentration changes produced by variations in [Na]<latex>$_o$</latex>, or Na-K pump block. The sodium dependence of the overshoot potential is well reproduced despite the fact that steady state intracellular Na is proportional to extracellular Na, as in the experimental results of D. Ellis J. Physiol., Lond. 274, 211-240 (1977)). The model reproduces the responses to current pulses applied during the plateau and pacemaker phases. In particular, a substantial net decrease in conductance is predicted during the pacemaker depolarization despite the fact that the controlling process is an increase in conductance for the hyperpolarizing-activated current. The immediate effects of changing extracellular [K] are reproduced, including: (i) the shortening of action potential duration and suppression of pacemaker activity at high [K]; (ii) the increased automaticity at moderately low [K]; and (iii) the depolarization to the plateau range with premature depolarizations and low voltage oscillations at very low [K]. The ionic currents attributed to changes in Na-K pump activity are well reproduced. It is shown that the apparent K<latex>$_m$</latex> for K activation of the pump depends strongly on the size of the restricted extracellular space. With a 30% space (as in canine Purkinje fibres) the apparent K<latex>$_m$</latex> is close to the assumed real value of 1 mM. When the extracellular space is reduced to below 5%, the apparent K<latex>$_m$</latex> increases by up to an order of magnitude. A substantial part of the pump is then not available for inhibition by low [K]<latex>$_b$</latex>. These results can explain the apparent discrepancies in the literature concerning the K<latex>$_m$</latex> for pump activation.