Upregulation of Adenosine A1 Receptors Facilitates Sinoatrial Node Dysfunction in Chronic Canine Heart Failure by Exacerbating Nodal Conduction Abnormalities Revealed by Novel Dual-Sided Intramural Optical Mapping
Background—While sinoatrial node (SAN) dysfunction is a hallmark of human heart failure (HF), the underlying mechanisms remain poorly understood. We aimed to examine the role of adenosine in SAN dysfunction and tachy-brady arrhythmias in chronic HF.
Methods and Results—We applied multiple approaches to characterize SAN structure, function and adenosine A1 receptor (A1R) expression in control (n=17) and four month tachypacing-induced chronic HF (n=18) dogs. Novel intramural optical mapping of coronary-perfused right atrial preparations revealed that adenosine (10µM) markedly prolonged post-pacing SAN conduction time in HF by 206±99ms (vs. 66±21ms in control, p=0.02). Adenosine induced SAN intra-nodal conduction block and/or micro-reentry in 6/8 HF vs. 0/7 controls (p=0.007). Adenosine-induced SAN conduction abnormalities and automaticity depression caused post-pacing atrial pauses in HF vs. control (17.1±28.9s vs. 1.5±1.3s, p<0.001). Furthermore, 10µM adenosine shortened atrial repolarization and led to pacing-induced atrial fibrillation (AF) in 6/7 HF vs. 0/7 control (p=0.002). Adenosine-induced SAN dysfunction and AF were abolished/prevented by A1R antagonists (50µM Theophylline/1µM DPCPX). A1R protein expression was significantly upregulated during HF in the SAN (by 47±19%) and surrounding atrial myocardium (by 90±40%). Interstitial fibrosis was significantly increased within the SAN in HF vs. control (38±4% vs. 23±4%, p<0.001).
Conclusions—In chronic HF, A1R upregulation in SAN pacemaker and atrial cardiomyocytes may increase cardiac sensitivity to adenosine. This effect may exacerbate conduction abnormalities in the structurally impaired SAN leading to SAN dysfunction, and potentiate atrial repolarization shortening thereby facilitating AF. AF may further depress SAN function and lead to tachy-brady arrhythmias in HF.
- Received October 28, 2013.
- Revision received April 1, 2014.
- Accepted May 8, 2014.