New insights into the atrial electrophysiology of rodents using a novel modality: The miniature-bipolar hook electrode

Yoram Etzion, Michal Mor, Aryeh Shalev, Shani Dror, Ohad Etzion, Amir Dagan, Ofer Beharier, Arie Moran, Amos Katz

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

19 Scopus citations


Studies of atrial electrophysiology (EP) in rodents are challenging, and available data are sparse. Herein, we utilized a novel type of bipolar electrode to evaluate the atrial EP of rodents through small lateral thoracotomy. In anesthetized rats and mice, we attached two bipolar electrodes to the right atrium and a third to the right ventricle. This standard setup enabled high-resolution EP studies. Moreover, a permanent implantation procedure enabled EP studies in conscious freely moving rats. Atrial EP was evaluated in anesthetized rats, anesthetized mice (ICR and C57BL6 strains), and conscious rats. Signal resolution enabled atrial effective refractory period (AERP) measurements and first time evaluation of the failed 1:1 atrial capture, which was unexpectedly longer than the AERP recorded at near normal cycle length by 27.2 ± 2.3% in rats (P < 0.0001; n = 35), 31.7 ± 8.3% in ICR mice (P = 0.0001; n = 13), and 57.7 ± 13.7% in C57BL6 mice (P = 0.015; n = 4). While AERP rate adaptation was noted when 10 S1s at near normal basic cycle lengths were followed by S2 at varying basic cycle length and S3 for AERP evaluation, such rate adaptation was absent using conventional S1S2 protocols. Atrial tachypacing in rats shortened the AERP values on a timescale of hours, but a reverse remodeling phase was noted thereafter. Comparison of left vs. right atrial pacing in rats was also feasible with the current technique, resulting in similar AERP values recorded in the low right atrium. In conclusion, our findings indicate that in vivo rate adaptation of the rodent atria is different than expected based on previous ex vivo recordings. In addition, atrial electrical remodeling of rats shows unique remodeling-reverse remodeling characteristics that are described here for the first time. Further understanding of these properties should help to determine the clinical relevance as well as limitations of atrial arrhythmia models in rodents.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)H1460-H1469
JournalAmerican Journal of Physiology - Heart and Circulatory Physiology
Issue number4
StatePublished - 1 Oct 2008


  • Atrial effective refractory period
  • Electrical remodeling
  • Rate adaptation

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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