Mitochondrial Dysfunction Underlies Cardiomyocyte Remodeling in Experimental and Clinical Atrial Fibrillation

Marit Wiersma, Denise M S van Marion, Rob C I Wüst, Riekelt H Houtkooper, Deli Zhang, Natasja M S de Groot, Robert H Henning, Bianca J J M Brundel

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Atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common progressive tachyarrhythmia, results in structural remodeling which impairs electrical activation of the atria, rendering them increasingly permissive to the arrhythmia. Previously, we reported on endoplasmic reticulum stress and NAD+ depletion in AF, suggesting a role for mitochondrial dysfunction in AF progression. Here, we examined mitochondrial function in experimental model systems for AF (tachypaced HL-1 atrial cardiomyocytes and Drosophila melanogaster) and validated findings in clinical AF. Tachypacing of HL-1 cardiomyocytes progressively induces mitochondrial dysfunction, evidenced by impairment of mitochondrial Ca2+-handling, upregulation of mitochondrial stress chaperones and a decrease in the mitochondrial membrane potential, respiration and ATP production. Atrial biopsies from AF patients display mitochondrial dysfunction, evidenced by aberrant ATP levels, upregulation of a mitochondrial stress chaperone and fragmentation of the mitochondrial network. The pathophysiological role of mitochondrial dysfunction is substantiated by the attenuation of AF remodeling by preventing an increased mitochondrial Ca2+-influx through partial blocking or downregulation of the mitochondrial calcium uniporter, and by SS31, a compound that improves bioenergetics in mitochondria. Together, these results show that conservation of the mitochondrial function protects against tachypacing-induced cardiomyocyte remodeling and identify this organelle as a potential novel therapeutic target.

Original languageEnglish
Article number1202
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - 5 Oct 2019

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