The spatial pattern of electrical activation is crucial for a full understanding of fish heart function. However, it remains unclear whether there is regional variation in action potential (AP) morphologies and underlying ion currents. Because the direction of depolarization and spatial differences in the durations of ventricular APs set limits to potential patterns of ventricular repolarization, we determined AP morphologies, underlying ion currents and ion channel expression in four different ventricular regions (spongy myocardium; and apex, base and middle of the compact myocardium), and correlated them with in vivo electrocardiograms (ECGs) in rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss). ECGs recorded from three leads indicated that the depolarization and repolarization of APs propagate from base to apex, and the main depolarization axis of the ventricle is between +90 and +120 deg. AP shape was uniform across the whole ventricle, and little regional differences were found in the density of repolarizing K+ currents or depolarizing Ca2+ and Na+ currents and the underlying transcripts of ion channels, providing compelling evidence for the suggested excitation pattern. The spatial uniformity of AP durations and base-to-apex propagation of activation with a relatively slow velocity of propagation indicates no special ventricular conduction pathway in the trout ventricle such as the His–Purkinje system of mammalian hearts. The sequence of repolarization is solely determined by activation time without being affected by regional differences in AP duration.

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