Regional gradients of action potential duration (APD) due to electrophysiological differences between endocardial, midmyocardial, and epicardial myocytes may exist across the ventricular wall. In addition, activation sequence-induced gradients of APD may occur if intramural fiber rotation accelerates or decelerates the depolarization wave front. To investigate relative contributions of regional and activation sequence-induced gradients to intramural APD dispersion, we simulated action potential propagation in two-dimensional models with idealized geometries representing the canine pulmonary conus. Ionic currents for endocardial myocytes were described using the Luo-Rudy membrane equations. Modifications to IKs approximated action potentials of epicardial and midmyocardial cells. Spatial coupling was modeled with a bidomain representation of tissue structure that included unequal anisotropic conductivity ratios. Activation sequence-induced gradients reached 69 ms cm-1 during a nonuniform activation sequence where the change in orientation between endocardial and epicardial fibers accelerated the depolarization wave front. Regional gradients reached 133 ms cm-1 at the boundary between endocardial and midmyocardial cells. When regional and activation sequence-induced gradients were oriented in opposite directions, overall APD dispersion decreased. When the gradients were oriented in the same direction, overall dispersion measured as high as 202 ms cm-1. This gradient exceeded values previously estimated as sufficient to induce cardiac arrhythmia during premature stimulation and suggests that regional and activation sequence-induced gradients increase arrhythmia vulnerability in the presence of other arrhythmogenic conditions. © 1998 Biomedical Engineering Society.