26 research outputs found

    Optical mapping and optogenetics in cardiac electrophysiology research and therapy:a state-of-the-art review

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    State-of-the-art innovations in optical cardiac electrophysiology are significantly enhancing cardiac research. A potential leap into patient care is now on the horizon. Optical mapping, using fluorescent probes and high-speed cameras, offers detailed insights into cardiac activity and arrhythmias by analysing electrical signals, calcium dynamics, and metabolism. Optogenetics utilizes light-sensitive ion channels and pumps to realize contactless, cell-selective cardiac actuation for modelling arrhythmia, restoring sinus rhythm, and probing complex cell–cell interactions. The merging of optogenetics and optical mapping techniques for ‘all-optical’ electrophysiology marks a significant step forward. This combination allows for the contactless actuation and sensing of cardiac electrophysiology, offering unprecedented spatial–temporal resolution and control. Recent studies have performed all-optical imaging ex vivo and achieved reliable optogenetic pacing in vivo, narrowing the gap for clinical use. Progress in optical electrophysiology continues at pace. Advances in motion tracking methods are removing the necessity of motion uncoupling, a key limitation of optical mapping. Innovations in optoelectronics, including miniaturized, biocompatible illumination and circuitry, are enabling the creation of implantable cardiac pacemakers and defibrillators with optoelectrical closed-loop systems. Computational modelling and machine learning are emerging as pivotal tools in enhancing optical techniques, offering new avenues for analysing complex data and optimizing therapeutic strategies. However, key challenges remain including opsin delivery, real-time data processing, longevity, and chronic effects of optoelectronic devices. This review provides a comprehensive overview of recent advances in optical mapping and optogenetics and outlines the promising future of optics in reshaping cardiac electrophysiology and therapeutic strategies

    Impact of Obesity on Atrial Fibrillation Pathogenesis and Treatment Options

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    Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most common cardiac arrhythmia. AF increases the risk of stroke, heart failure, dementia, and hospitalization. Obesity significantly increases AF risk, both directly and indirectly, through related conditions, like hypertension, diabetes, and heart failure. Obesity-driven structural and electrical remodeling contribute to AF via several reported mechanisms, including adiposity, inflammation, fibrosis, oxidative stress, ion channel alterations, and autonomic dysfunction. In particular, expanding epicardial adipose tissue during obesity has been suggested as a key driver of AF via paracrine signaling and direct infiltration. Weight loss has been shown to reverse these changes and reduce AF risk and recurrence after ablation. However, studies on how obesity affects pharmacologic or interventional AF treatments are limited. In this review, we discuss mechanisms by which obesity mediates AF and treatment outcomes, aiming to provide insight into obesity-drug interactions and guide personalized treatment for this patient subgroup.</p

    Structural Progression in Patients with Definite and Non-Definite Arrhythmogenic Right Ventricular Cardiomyopathy and Risk of Major Adverse Cardiac Events

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    Arrhythmogenic right ventricular cardiomyopathy (ARVC) is a rare inherited disease characterised by early arrhythmias and structural changes. Still, there are limited echocardiography data on its structural progression. We studied structural progression and its impact on the occurrence of major adverse cardiovascular events (MACE). In this single-centre observational cohort study, structural progression was defined as the development of new major or minor imaging 2010 Task Force Criteria during follow-up. Of 101 patients, a definite diagnosis of ARVC was made in 51 patients, while non-definite ‘early’ disease was diagnosed in 50 patients. During 4 years of follow-up (IQR: 2–6), 23 (45%) patients with a definite diagnosis developed structural progression while only 1 patient in the non-definite (early) group gained minor imaging Task Force Criteria. Male gender was strongly associated with structural progression (62% of males progressed structurally, while 88% of females remained stable). Patients with structural progression were at higher risk of MACE (64% of patients with MACE had structural progression). Therefore, the rate of structural progression is an essential factor to be considered in ARVC studies

    Clinical utilisation of implantable loop recorders in adults with Fabry disease-a multi-centre snapshot study

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    Fabry disease (FD) is an X-linked deficiency of alpha-galactosidase-A, leading to lysosomal storage of sphingolipids in multiple organs. Myocardial accumulation contributes to arrhythmia and sudden death, the most common cause of FD mortality. Therefore, there is a need for risk stratification and prediction to target device therapy. Implantable loop recorders (ILRs) allow for continual rhythm monitoring for up to 3 years. Here, we performed a retrospective study to evaluate current ILR utilisation in FD and quantify the burden of arrhythmia that was detected, which resulted in a modification of therapy. This was a snapshot assessment of 915 patients with FD across three specialist centres in England during the period between 1 January 2000 and 1 September 2022. In total, 22 (2.4%) patients underwent clinically indicated ILR implantation. The mean implantation age was 50 years and 13 (59%) patients were female. Following implantation, nine (41%) patients underwent arrhythmia detection, requiring intervention (six on ILR and three post-ILR battery depletion). Three patients experienced sustained atrial high-rate episodes and were started on anticoagulation. Three had non-sustained tachyarrhythmia and were started on beta blockers. Post-ILR battery depletion, one suffered complete heart block and two had sustained ventricular tachycardia, all requiring device therapy. Those with arrhythmia had a shorter PR interval on electrocardiography. This study demonstrates that ILR implantation in FD uncovers a high burden of arrhythmia. ILRs are likely to be underutilised in this pro-arrhythmic cohort, perhaps restricted to those with advanced FD cardiomyopathy. Following battery depletion in three patients as mentioned above, greater vigilance and arrhythmia surveillance are advised for those experiencing major arrhythmic events post-ILR monitoring. Further work is required to establish who would benefit most from implantation.</p

    Hydroxychloroquine reduces heart rate by modulating the hyperpolarization-activated current If: Novel electrophysiological insights and therapeutic potential

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    © 2015 Heart Rhythm Society. Background Bradycardic agents are of interest for the treatment of ischemic heart disease and heart failure, as heart rate is an important determinant of myocardial oxygen consumption. Objectives The purpose of this study was to investigate the propensity of hydroxychloroquine (HCQ) to cause bradycardia. Methods We assessed the effects of HCQ on (1) cardiac beating rate in vitro (mice); (2) the "funny" current (If) in isolated guinea pig sinoatrial node (SAN) myocytes (1, 3, 10 μM); (3) heart rate and blood pressure in vivo by acute bolus injection (rat, dose range 1-30 mg/kg), (4) blood pressure and ventricular function during feeding (mouse, 100 mg/kg/d for 2 wk, tail cuff plethysmography, anesthetized echocardiography). Results In mouse atria, spontaneous beating rate was significantly (

    Greyzone myocardial fibrosis and ventricular arrhythmias in patients with a left ventricular ejection fraction >35%

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    AIMS: To determine whether myocardial fibrosis and greyzone fibrosis (GZF) on cardiovascular magnetic resonance (CMR) is associated with ventricular arrhythmias in patients with coronary artery disease (CAD) and a left ventricular ejection fraction (LVEF) >35%. METHODS AND RESULTS: In this retrospective study of CAD patients, GZF mass using the 3SD method (GZF3SD) and total fibrosis mass using the 2SD method (TF2SD) on CMR were assessed in relation to the primary, combined endpoint of sudden cardiac death, ventricular tachycardia, ventricular fibrillation, or resuscitated cardiac arrest. Among 701 patients [age: 65.8 ± 12.3 years (mean ± SD)], 28 (3.99%) patients met the primary endpoint over 5.91 years (median; interquartile range 4.42-7.64). In competing risks analysis, a GZF3SD mass ≥5.0 g was strongly associated with the primary endpoint [subdistribution hazard ratio (sHR): 17.4 (95% confidence interval, CI 6.64-45.5); area under receiver operator characteristic curve (AUC): 0.85, P 35%, GZF3SD mass was strongly associated with the arrhythmic endpoint. These findings hold promise for its use in identifying patients with CAD and an LVEF >35% at risk of arrhythmic events

    Effect of angiotensin-converting enzyme inhibitor and angiotensin receptor blocker initiation on organ support-free days in patients hospitalized with COVID-19

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    IMPORTANCE Overactivation of the renin-angiotensin system (RAS) may contribute to poor clinical outcomes in patients with COVID-19. Objective To determine whether angiotensin-converting enzyme (ACE) inhibitor or angiotensin receptor blocker (ARB) initiation improves outcomes in patients hospitalized for COVID-19. DESIGN, SETTING, AND PARTICIPANTS In an ongoing, adaptive platform randomized clinical trial, 721 critically ill and 58 non–critically ill hospitalized adults were randomized to receive an RAS inhibitor or control between March 16, 2021, and February 25, 2022, at 69 sites in 7 countries (final follow-up on June 1, 2022). INTERVENTIONS Patients were randomized to receive open-label initiation of an ACE inhibitor (n = 257), ARB (n = 248), ARB in combination with DMX-200 (a chemokine receptor-2 inhibitor; n = 10), or no RAS inhibitor (control; n = 264) for up to 10 days. MAIN OUTCOMES AND MEASURES The primary outcome was organ support–free days, a composite of hospital survival and days alive without cardiovascular or respiratory organ support through 21 days. The primary analysis was a bayesian cumulative logistic model. Odds ratios (ORs) greater than 1 represent improved outcomes. RESULTS On February 25, 2022, enrollment was discontinued due to safety concerns. Among 679 critically ill patients with available primary outcome data, the median age was 56 years and 239 participants (35.2%) were women. Median (IQR) organ support–free days among critically ill patients was 10 (–1 to 16) in the ACE inhibitor group (n = 231), 8 (–1 to 17) in the ARB group (n = 217), and 12 (0 to 17) in the control group (n = 231) (median adjusted odds ratios of 0.77 [95% bayesian credible interval, 0.58-1.06] for improvement for ACE inhibitor and 0.76 [95% credible interval, 0.56-1.05] for ARB compared with control). The posterior probabilities that ACE inhibitors and ARBs worsened organ support–free days compared with control were 94.9% and 95.4%, respectively. Hospital survival occurred in 166 of 231 critically ill participants (71.9%) in the ACE inhibitor group, 152 of 217 (70.0%) in the ARB group, and 182 of 231 (78.8%) in the control group (posterior probabilities that ACE inhibitor and ARB worsened hospital survival compared with control were 95.3% and 98.1%, respectively). CONCLUSIONS AND RELEVANCE In this trial, among critically ill adults with COVID-19, initiation of an ACE inhibitor or ARB did not improve, and likely worsened, clinical outcomes. TRIAL REGISTRATION ClinicalTrials.gov Identifier: NCT0273570

    Mechanistic insights in the autonomic modulation of ventricular arrhythmia

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    Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the developed world with up to fifty percent of cases being due to sudden cardiac death. Changes in sympatho-vagal balance underpin many cardiovascular conditions including heart failure and myocardial infarction. Neuraxial modulation of the autonomic nervous system is an emerging therapy to prevent ventricular arrhythmias, the main cause of sudden cardiac death. Chapter One reviews our current understanding of how the cardiac autonomic nervous system influences ventricular arrhythmogenesis. A particular focus was on the controversial role of cholinergic receptors and nitric oxide (NO) in parasympathetic protection from ventricular arrhythmias. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), a critical cofactor for both tyrosine hydroxylase and NO synthases, and the co-transmitter neuropeptide-Y (NPY) may also influence sympathetic triggering of ventricular arrhythmias. This leads to the specific aims of the thesis which were to determine the mechanisms of the cholinergic antifibrillatory effect, investigate the role of cotransmission in arrhythmogenesis and, the mechanistic role of BH4 in autonomic cardiovascular control. Chapter Two detailed the experimental approach taken to investigate the hypotheses. A novel Langendorff heart preparation was developed with intact autonomic nerves to investigate how the stable analogue of acetylcholine, carbamylcholine (CCh) raises ventricular fibrillation threshold (VFT) and whether exogenous or endogenously released NPY lowers VFT. These actions are further investigated using optical mapping, dye free imaging of ventricular cell monolayers, immunohistochemistry, ELISA assays and measurements of NO metabolite production. To investigate the role of BH4 in the sympathetic control of the heart, an IRES-cre recombinase strategy was used to produce genomic deletion of GCH1 (the gene encoding BH4) in sympathetic neurons. Biopterins and plasma catecholamines were measured using HPLC, and blood pressure and heart rate via tail cuff plethysmography. Chapter 3 showed that CCh increased VFT, prolonged action potential duration and flattened the electrical restitution curve. This effect required stimulation of both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors and the generation of nNOS derived NO utilising a cGMP dependent pathway. These observations are in keeping with established evidence demonstrating the obligatory role of the muscarinic receptor and indicate that the role of NO is likely to be via modulation of cholinergic neurotransmission. Chapter 4 studied the role of the sympathetic co-transmitter NPY. NPY has been shown to increase ventricular myocyte calcium dynamics. Plasma levels are also increased post myocardial infarction and during heart failure, and correlate with outcomes. Perfusion of NPY decreased VFT via a Y1 receptor dependent mechanism and increased arrhythmic activity in myocyte monolayers. Direct sympathetic stimulation resulted in NPY release and remained pro-arrhythmic despite β-blockade, an effect that could be abolished by combined β-Y1 receptor blockade. These observations indicated that NPY may be a novel, pro-arrhythmic trigger amenable to therapeutic pharmacological modulation. Chapter 5 details the generation and phenotyping of two tissue specific Gch1 knockout mouse models. Whilst one model failed to produce significant lowering of BH4 in sympatho-adrenal tissue, the other did result in a marked neuro-motor phenotype. A biochemical rescue or alternative genomic modification approach would be required to study the cardiovascular phenotype of sympathetic Gch1 deletion in more detail. Chapter 6 is a concluding discussion summarising the main findings of the thesis, placing them in a clinical context and discussing avenues for further research

    Mechanistic insights in the autonomic modulation of ventricular arrhythmia

    No full text
    Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the developed world with up to fifty percent of cases being due to sudden cardiac death. Changes in sympatho-vagal balance underpin many cardiovascular conditions including heart failure and myocardial infarction. Neuraxial modulation of the autonomic nervous system is an emerging therapy to prevent ventricular arrhythmias, the main cause of sudden cardiac death. Chapter One reviews our current understanding of how the cardiac autonomic nervous system influences ventricular arrhythmogenesis. A particular focus was on the controversial role of cholinergic receptors and nitric oxide (NO) in parasympathetic protection from ventricular arrhythmias. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), a critical cofactor for both tyrosine hydroxylase and NO synthases, and the co-transmitter neuropeptide-Y (NPY) may also influence sympathetic triggering of ventricular arrhythmias. This leads to the specific aims of the thesis which were to determine the mechanisms of the cholinergic antifibrillatory effect, investigate the role of cotransmission in arrhythmogenesis and, the mechanistic role of BH4 in autonomic cardiovascular control. Chapter Two detailed the experimental approach taken to investigate the hypotheses. A novel Langendorff heart preparation was developed with intact autonomic nerves to investigate how the stable analogue of acetylcholine, carbamylcholine (CCh) raises ventricular fibrillation threshold (VFT) and whether exogenous or endogenously released NPY lowers VFT. These actions are further investigated using optical mapping, dye free imaging of ventricular cell monolayers, immunohistochemistry, ELISA assays and measurements of NO metabolite production. To investigate the role of BH4 in the sympathetic control of the heart, an IRES-cre recombinase strategy was used to produce genomic deletion of GCH1 (the gene encoding BH4) in sympathetic neurons. Biopterins and plasma catecholamines were measured using HPLC, and blood pressure and heart rate via tail cuff plethysmography. Chapter 3 showed that CCh increased VFT, prolonged action potential duration and flattened the electrical restitution curve. This effect required stimulation of both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors and the generation of nNOS derived NO utilising a cGMP dependent pathway. These observations are in keeping with established evidence demonstrating the obligatory role of the muscarinic receptor and indicate that the role of NO is likely to be via modulation of cholinergic neurotransmission. Chapter 4 studied the role of the sympathetic co-transmitter NPY. NPY has been shown to increase ventricular myocyte calcium dynamics. Plasma levels are also increased post myocardial infarction and during heart failure, and correlate with outcomes. Perfusion of NPY decreased VFT via a Y1 receptor dependent mechanism and increased arrhythmic activity in myocyte monolayers. Direct sympathetic stimulation resulted in NPY release and remained pro-arrhythmic despite β-blockade, an effect that could be abolished by combined β-Y1 receptor blockade. These observations indicated that NPY may be a novel, pro-arrhythmic trigger amenable to therapeutic pharmacological modulation. Chapter 5 details the generation and phenotyping of two tissue specific Gch1 knockout mouse models. Whilst one model failed to produce significant lowering of BH4 in sympatho-adrenal tissue, the other did result in a marked neuro-motor phenotype. A biochemical rescue or alternative genomic modification approach would be required to study the cardiovascular phenotype of sympathetic Gch1 deletion in more detail. Chapter 6 is a concluding discussion summarising the main findings of the thesis, placing them in a clinical context and discussing avenues for further research.</p

    Mechanistic insights in the autonomic modulation of ventricular arrhythmia

    No full text
    Cardiovascular disease is the leading cause of mortality in the developed world with up to fifty percent of cases being due to sudden cardiac death. Changes in sympatho-vagal balance underpin many cardiovascular conditions including heart failure and myocardial infarction. Neuraxial modulation of the autonomic nervous system is an emerging therapy to prevent ventricular arrhythmias, the main cause of sudden cardiac death. Chapter One reviews our current understanding of how the cardiac autonomic nervous system influences ventricular arrhythmogenesis. A particular focus was on the controversial role of cholinergic receptors and nitric oxide (NO) in parasympathetic protection from ventricular arrhythmias. Tetrahydrobiopterin (BH4), a critical cofactor for both tyrosine hydroxylase and NO synthases, and the co-transmitter neuropeptide-Y (NPY) may also influence sympathetic triggering of ventricular arrhythmias. This leads to the specific aims of the thesis which were to determine the mechanisms of the cholinergic antifibrillatory effect, investigate the role of cotransmission in arrhythmogenesis and, the mechanistic role of BH4 in autonomic cardiovascular control. Chapter Two detailed the experimental approach taken to investigate the hypotheses. A novel Langendorff heart preparation was developed with intact autonomic nerves to investigate how the stable analogue of acetylcholine, carbamylcholine (CCh) raises ventricular fibrillation threshold (VFT) and whether exogenous or endogenously released NPY lowers VFT. These actions are further investigated using optical mapping, dye free imaging of ventricular cell monolayers, immunohistochemistry, ELISA assays and measurements of NO metabolite production. To investigate the role of BH4 in the sympathetic control of the heart, an IRES-cre recombinase strategy was used to produce genomic deletion of GCH1 (the gene encoding BH4) in sympathetic neurons. Biopterins and plasma catecholamines were measured using HPLC, and blood pressure and heart rate via tail cuff plethysmography. Chapter 3 showed that CCh increased VFT, prolonged action potential duration and flattened the electrical restitution curve. This effect required stimulation of both muscarinic and nicotinic receptors and the generation of nNOS derived NO utilising a cGMP dependent pathway. These observations are in keeping with established evidence demonstrating the obligatory role of the muscarinic receptor and indicate that the role of NO is likely to be via modulation of cholinergic neurotransmission. Chapter 4 studied the role of the sympathetic co-transmitter NPY. NPY has been shown to increase ventricular myocyte calcium dynamics. Plasma levels are also increased post myocardial infarction and during heart failure, and correlate with outcomes. Perfusion of NPY decreased VFT via a Y1 receptor dependent mechanism and increased arrhythmic activity in myocyte monolayers. Direct sympathetic stimulation resulted in NPY release and remained pro-arrhythmic despite &beta;-blockade, an effect that could be abolished by combined &beta;-Y1 receptor blockade. These observations indicated that NPY may be a novel, pro-arrhythmic trigger amenable to therapeutic pharmacological modulation. Chapter 5 details the generation and phenotyping of two tissue specific Gch1 knockout mouse models. Whilst one model failed to produce significant lowering of BH4 in sympatho-adrenal tissue, the other did result in a marked neuro-motor phenotype. A biochemical rescue or alternative genomic modification approach would be required to study the cardiovascular phenotype of sympathetic Gch1 deletion in more detail. Chapter 6 is a concluding discussion summarising the main findings of the thesis, placing them in a clinical context and discussing avenues for further research.</p
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