Ryanodine Receptor–Mediated Calcium Leak Drives Progressive Development of an Atrial Fibrillation Substrate in a Transgenic Mouse ModelCLINICAL PERSPECTIVE
Background—The progression of atrial fibrillation (AF) from paroxysmal to persistent forms remains a major clinical challenge. Abnormal sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ leak via the ryanodine receptor type 2 (RyR2) has been observed as a source of ectopic activity in various AF models. However, its potential role in progression to long-lasting spontaneous AF (sAF) has never been tested. This study was designed to test the hypothesis that enhanced RyR2-mediated Ca2+ release underlies the development of a substrate for sAF and to elucidate the underlying mechanisms.
Methods and Results—CREM-IbΔC-X transgenic (CREM) mice developed age-dependent progression from spontaneous atrial ectopy to paroxysmal and eventually long-lasting AF. The development of sAF in CREM mice was preceded by enhanced diastolic Ca2+ release, atrial enlargement, and marked conduction abnormalities. Genetic inhibition of Ca2+/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase II–mediated RyR2-S2814 phosphorylation in CREM mice normalized open probability of RyR2 channels and SR Ca2+ release, delayed the development of spontaneous atrial ectopy, fully prevented sAF, suppressed atrial dilation, and forestalled atrial conduction abnormalities. Hyperactive RyR2 channels directly stimulated the Ca2+-dependent hypertrophic pathway nuclear factor of activated T cell/Rcan1-4, suggesting a role for the nuclear factor of activated T cell/Rcan1-4 system in the development of a substrate for long-lasting AF in CREM mice.
Conclusions—RyR2-mediated SR Ca2+ leak directly underlies the development of a substrate for sAF in CREM mice, the first demonstration of a molecular mechanism underlying AF progression and sAF substrate development in an experimental model. Our work demonstrates that the role of abnormal diastolic Ca2+ release in AF may not be restricted to the generation of atrial ectopy but extends to the development of atrial remodeling underlying the AF substrate.
- Received June 7, 2013.
- Accepted December 26, 2013.
- © 2014 American Heart Association, Inc.