Atrial fibrillation (AF) is characterized by sustained high atrial activation rates and arrhythmogenic cellular Ca2+ signaling instability; however, it is not clear how a high atrial rate and Ca2+ instability may be related. Here, we characterized subcellular Ca2+ signaling after 5 days of high atrial rates in a rabbit model. While some changes were similar to those in persistent AF, we identified a distinct pattern of stabilized subcellular Ca2+ signaling. Ca2+ sparks, arrhythmogenic Ca2+ waves, sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca2+ leak, and SR Ca2+ content were largely unaltered. Based on computational analysis, these findings were consistent with a higher Ca2+ leak due to PKA-dependent phosphorylation of SR Ca2+ channels (RyR2s), fewer RyR2s, and smaller RyR2 clusters in the SR. We determined that less Ca2+ release per [Ca2+]i transient, increased Ca2+ buffering strength, shortened action potentials, and reduced L-type Ca2+ current contribute to a stunning reduction of intracellular Na+ concentration following rapid atrial pacing. In both patients with AF and in our rabbit model, this silencing led to failed propagation of the [Ca2+]i signal to the myocyte center. We conclude that sustained high atrial rates alone silence Ca2+ signaling and do not produce Ca2+ signaling instability, consistent with an adaptive molecular and cellular response to atrial tachycardia.
Maura Greiser, Benoît-Gilles Kerfant, George S.B. Williams, Niels Voigt, Erik Harks, Katharine M. Dibb, Anne Giese, Janos Meszaros, Sander Verheule, Ursula Ravens, Maurits A. Allessie, James S. Gammie, Jolanda van der Velden, W. Jonathan Lederer, Dobromir Dobrev, Ulrich Schotten
Guidelines: The Editorial Board will only consider letters that we deem relevant and of interest to our readers. We will not post data that have not been subjected to peer review, nor will we post letters that are essentially a reiteration of another letter. All accepted letters will be posted on our website within one week of acceptance. We reserve the right to edit any letter for length, content, and clarity. Authors of all accepted letters will be asked to preview any changes. Authors will be notified by e-mail if their letters were not accepted. As this is a final decision, no appeals will be considered.
Specific requirements: All letters must be 400 words or fewer. You may enter the letter as plain text or HTML. The author's name and e-mail address are required, and will be posted with the letter. All possible conflicts of interest must be noted, even if they are not posted. If you wish to include a figure (keep in mind that non-peer-reviewed data will not be posted), please contact the editors directly at email@example.com.