Original Research

The heart remembers : observations of cardiac memory in the Dorper sheep heart

J. Ker, E.C. Webb, J.A. Ker, P.A. Bekker
Onderstepoort Journal of Veterinary Research | Vol 70, No 4 | a294 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/ojvr.v70i4.294 | © 2003 J. Ker, E.C. Webb, J.A. Ker, P.A. Bekker | This work is licensed under CC Attribution-NoDerivatives 4.0
Submitted: 08 November 2003 | Published: 08 November 2003

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J. Ker,
E.C. Webb,
J.A. Ker,
P.A. Bekker,

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Abstract

Memory is a property common to a diverse range of tissues. Cardiac memory has been demonstrated in the human, dog, rat and rabbit. This is a peculiar phenomenon, reflected in the T wave of the electrocardiogram. The heart is able to remember periods of alterations in the sequence of ventricular activation and once there is a return to a normal sequence of ventricular activation the T waves may manifest memory. Cardiac memory is noted when the T wave during normal ventricular activation retains the vector of the previous abnormal QRS complex, caused by a period of altered ventricular activation. Possible mechanisms of memory in the heart are alterations of the transient outward potassium current (Ito) in ventricular myocytes and new protein synthesis inside myocytes. These two mechanisms operate in short- and long-term cardiac memory respectively. Currently, it is unknown whether memory may have adverse structural consequences in the heart. We were able to demonstrate memory in the hearts of Dorper wethers and this is the first report of cardiac memory in Dorper sheep.

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