The Role of Immune Cells Driving Electropathology and Atrial Fibrillation

Mingxin Huang, Fabries G. Huiskes, Natasja M. S. de Groot, Bianca J. J. M. Brundel

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articleAcademicpeer-review


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common progressive cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and entails serious complications including stroke and heart failure. Despite decades of clinical research, the current treatment of AF is suboptimal. This is due to a lack of knowledge on the mechanistic root causes of AF. Prevailing theories indicate a key role for molecular and structural changes in driving electrical conduction abnormalities in the atria and as such triggering AF. Emerging evidence indicates the role of the altered atrial and systemic immune landscape in driving this so-called electropathology. Immune cells and immune markers play a central role in immune remodeling by exhibiting dual facets. While the activation and recruitment of immune cells contribute to maintaining atrial stability, the excessive activation and pronounced expression of immune markers can foster AF. This review delineates shifts in cardiac composition and the distribution of immune cells in the context of cardiac health and disease, especially AF. A comprehensive exploration of the functions of diverse immune cell types in AF and other cardiac diseases is essential to unravel the intricacies of immune remodeling. Usltimately, we delve into clinical evidence showcasing immune modifications in both the atrial and systemic domains among AF patients, aiming to elucidate immune markers for therapy and diagnostics.
Original languageEnglish
Article number311
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - 1 Feb 2024


  • atrial fibrillation
  • electropathology
  • immune cell
  • immune markers

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