Molecular Communication Aspects of Potassium Intracellular Signaling in Cardiomyocytes
Peer reviewed, Journal article
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Original versionIEEE Access. 2020, 8, 201770 - 201780. 10.1109/ACCESS.2020.3036219
Cardiovascular diseases continue to be a leading cause of morbidity and mortality worldwide. Cardiomyocytes, as the elementary heart components, play a crucial role in maintaining a healthy heart by coordinating contractions throughout the heart muscle that lead to a heartbeat. This study aims to characterize fine-grained ionic-level manipulation of cardiomyocytes for the controlled electrical activity that will offer new insights within the medical field. We explore the concept of Molecular Communications (MC) to analyze the propagation of potassium ions in the cardiomyocyte cytosol. By associating the number of the potassium ions in the cytosol with the membrane- and action potentials, we use metrics from the well-known Shannon's information theory to optimize the ionic injection process and manipulate cardiomyocytes electrical activity. In case ON/OFF keying modulation is adopted as the potassium ion injection method, the optimal input distribution in terms of information capacity follows the derived Bernoulli distribution. This study offers underlying concepts that can be exploited in the creation of cardiomyocyte signals either for data communication via cellular infrastructure or heart pacing. The framework presented here needs to be upgraded in the following phases and made more physiologically plausible.