Rodents are commonly used as models in electrophysiology. However, distinct differences exist between large animals and rodents in terms of their ion channel expression and action potential shapes, possibly limiting the translational value of findings obtained in rodents. We aimed for a direct comparison of the possible impact of selective inhibition of ion channels on the cardiac repolarization in preparations from human hearts and from model species. We applied the standard microelectrode technique at 37°C on cardiac ventricular preparations (papillary muscles and trabecules) from human (n = 63), dog (n = 47), guinea pig (n = 53), rat (n = 43), and rabbit (n = 16) hearts, paced at 1 Hz. To selectively block the IKur current, 1 µM XEN-D101; IK1 current, 10 µM barium chloride; IKr current, 50 nM dofetilide; IKs current, 500 nM HMR-1556; and Ito current, 100 µM chromanol-293B were applied directly to the tissue bath. The block of IKur and IK1 elicited significantly more prominent prolongation of APD in rats (35.6% and 67.9%, respectively) when compared with the other species, including that of human (1.0% and 2.6%, respectively). On the other hand, IKr block did not affect APD in rat preparations (1.6%), whereas it elicited marked prolongation in other species (9.0–47.7%), especially being pronounced in human preparations (60.3%). IKs inhibition elicited similar but minor APD prolongation (0.3–11.4%) in all species. Inhibition of Ito moderately lengthened APD in dog (22.3%) and rabbit (17.5%) preparations but elicited no change of APD in human preparations. In contrast, block of Ito caused marked APD prolongation in rat preparations (33.2%). Our findings suggest that the specific inhibition of various ion channels elicits fundamentally different effects in rodent ventricular action potential when compared with those of other species, including human. Therefore, from a translational standpoint, rodent models in cardiac electrophysiological and arrhythmia research should be used with great caution.

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