Cholinergic atrial fibrillation: IK,ACh gradients determine unequal left/right atrial frequencies and rotor dynamics

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Abstract

Objective: We tested the hypothesis that left atrial (LA) myocytes are more sensitive to acetylcholine (ACh) than right atrial (RA) myocytes, which results in a greater dose-dependent increase in LA than RA rotor frequency, increased LA-to-RA frequency gradient and increased incidence of wavelet formation during atrial fibrillation (AF). Methods and results: AF was induced in seven Langendorff-perfused sheep hearts in the presence of ACh (0.1-4.0 μM) and studied using optical mapping and bipolar recordings. Dominant frequencies (DFs) were determined in optical and electrical signals and phase movies were used to identify rotors and quantify their dynamics. DFs in both atria increased monotonically with ACh concentration until saturation, but the LA frequency predominated at all concentrations. Rotors were also seen more often in the LA, and although their life span decreased, their frequency and number of rotations increased. Patch-clamp studies demonstrated that ACh-activated potassium current (IK,ACh) density was greater in LA than RA sheep myocytes. Additionally, ribonuclease protection assay demonstrated that Kir3.4 and Kir3.1 mRNAs were more abundant in LA than in RA. Conclusions: A greater abundance of Kir3.x channels and higher I K,ACh density in LA than RA myocytes result in greater ACh-induced speeding-up of rotors in the LA than in the RA, which explains the ACh dose-dependent changes in overall AF frequency and wavelet formation. © 2003 European Society of Cardiology. Published by Elsevier B.V. All rights reserved.

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Sarmast, F., Kolli, A., Zaitsev, A., Parisian, K., Dhamoon, A. S., Guha, P. K., … Jalife, J. (2003). Cholinergic atrial fibrillation: IK,ACh gradients determine unequal left/right atrial frequencies and rotor dynamics. Cardiovascular Research, 59(4), 863–873. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0008-6363(03)00540-6

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