Send to

Choose Destination
Circulation. 2012 May 1;125(17):2059-70. doi: 10.1161/CIRCULATIONAHA.111.067306. Epub 2012 Mar 28.

Enhanced sarcoplasmic reticulum Ca2+ leak and increased Na+-Ca2+ exchanger function underlie delayed afterdepolarizations in patients with chronic atrial fibrillation.

Author information

Division of Experimental Cardiology, Medical Faculty Mannheim, University of Heidelberg, Germany.



Delayed afterdepolarizations (DADs) carried by Na(+)-Ca(2+)-exchange current (I(NCX)) in response to sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) leak can promote atrial fibrillation (AF). The mechanisms leading to delayed afterdepolarizations in AF patients have not been defined.


Protein levels (Western blot), membrane currents and action potentials (patch clamp), and [Ca(2+)](i) (Fluo-3) were measured in right atrial samples from 76 sinus rhythm (control) and 72 chronic AF (cAF) patients. Diastolic [Ca(2+)](i) and SR Ca(2+) content (integrated I(NCX) during caffeine-induced Ca(2+) transient) were unchanged, whereas diastolic SR Ca(2+) leak, estimated by blocking ryanodine receptors (RyR2) with tetracaine, was ≈50% higher in cAF versus control. Single-channel recordings from atrial RyR2 reconstituted into lipid bilayers revealed enhanced open probability in cAF samples, providing a molecular basis for increased SR Ca(2+) leak. Calmodulin expression (60%), Ca(2+)/calmodulin-dependent protein kinase-II (CaMKII) autophosphorylation at Thr287 (87%), and RyR2 phosphorylation at Ser2808 (protein kinase A/CaMKII site, 236%) and Ser2814 (CaMKII site, 77%) were increased in cAF. The selective CaMKII blocker KN-93 decreased SR Ca(2+) leak, the frequency of spontaneous Ca(2+) release events, and RyR2 open probability in cAF, whereas protein kinase A inhibition with H-89 was ineffective. Knock-in mice with constitutively phosphorylated RyR2 at Ser2814 showed a higher incidence of Ca(2+) sparks and increased susceptibility to pacing-induced AF compared with controls. The relationship between [Ca(2+)](i) and I(NCX) density revealed I(NCX) upregulation in cAF. Spontaneous Ca(2+) release events accompanied by inward I(NCX) currents and delayed afterdepolarizations/triggered activity occurred more often and the sensitivity of resting membrane voltage to elevated [Ca(2+)](i) (diastolic [Ca(2+)](i)-voltage coupling gain) was higher in cAF compared with control.


Enhanced SR Ca(2+) leak through CaMKII-hyperphosphorylated RyR2, in combination with larger I(NCX) for a given SR Ca(2+) release and increased diastolic [Ca(2+)](i)-voltage coupling gain, causes AF-promoting atrial delayed afterdepolarizations/triggered activity in cAF patients.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]
Free PMC Article

Publication types, MeSH terms, Substances, Grant support

Supplemental Content

Full text links

Icon for Atypon Icon for PubMed Central
Loading ...
Support Center