Constitutive Expression of a Dominant Negative TGF-β Type II Receptor in the Posterior Left Atrium Leads to Beneficial Remodeling of Atrial Fibrillation Substrate
Rationale: Fibrosis is an important structural contributor to formation of atrial fibrillation (AF) substrate in heart failure (HF). TGF-β signaling is thought to be intricately involved in creation of atrial fibrosis.
Objective: We hypothesized that gene-based expression of dominant-negative type II TGF-β receptor (TGF-β-RII-DN) in the posterior left atrium (PLA) in a canine HF model will sufficiently attenuate fibrosis induced changes in atrial conduction and/or restitution to decrease AF. Since AF electrograms (EGMs) are thought to reflect AF substrate, we further hypothesized that TGF-β-RII-DN would lead to increased fractionation and decreased organization of AF EGMs.
Methods and Results: 21 dogs underwent injection + electroporation in the PLA of plasmid expressing a dominant negative TGF-β type II receptor (pUBc-TGFβ-DN-RII) (N=9) or control vector (pUBc-LacZ) (N=12), followed by 3-4 weeks of right ventricular tachypacing (VTP) (240 bpm). Compared to controls, dogs treated with pUBC-TGFβ-DN-RII demonstrated an attenuated increase in conduction inhomogeneity (CI), flattening of restitution slope and decreased duration of induced AF, with AF EGMs being more fractionated and less organized in pUBc-TGFβ-DN-RII versus pUBc-LacZ dogs. Tissue analysis revealed a significant decrease in replacement/interstitial fibrosis, pSMAD2/3 and pERK1/2.
Conclusions: Targeted, gene-based reduction of TGF-β signaling in the PLA - with resulting decrease in replacement fibrosis - led to beneficial remodeling of both conduction and restitution characteristics of the PLA, translating into a decrease in AF and increased complexity of AF EGMs. In addition to providing mechanistic insights, this data may have important diagnostic and therapeutic implications for AF.
- Received October 22, 2015.
- Revision received May 14, 2016.
- Accepted May 23, 2016.