Reflection after delayed excitation in a computer model of a single fiber.
Reflection (reflected reentry) is a case of reentry in a one-dimensional structure, divided into proximal and distal segments, in which tissue excited by a wave front propagating in a forward direction is reexcited by electrical activity coming backward from the original direction of propagation. Cases of reflection have been demonstrated in Purkinje fibers and in ventricular muscle preparations containing multiple fibers. Several mechanisms possibly responsible for reflected reentry have been proposed. However, the difficulty in the interpretation of the experimental results, as well as the limited number of different conditions in which reflection was obtained, has kept open the question about conditions and mechanisms for reflection. We have developed a computer model in which reflection occurs. The model involves a single fiber and uses the DiFrancesco-Noble equations for the Purkinje fiber to model the ionic currents. The results show that reflection is possible in a single fiber and that diastolic depolarization (automaticity) is not a requirement for reflection. Active membrane responses to a just-above-threshold stimulus were important for achieving the necessary time delay. Systematic simulations showed further that reflection occurred only when the right coupling conditions linked a short or long proximal fiber to a short distal segment.
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