Atrial Fibrillation Activates AMP-Dependent Protein Kinase and its Regulation of Cellular Calcium Handling: Potential Role in Metabolic Adaptation and Prevention of Progression.

J Am Coll Cardiol 2015 Jul;66(1):47-58

Department of Medicine and Research Center, Montreal Heart Institute and Université de Montréal, Montreal, Quebec, Canada. Electronic address:

Background: Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with metabolic stress, which activates adenosine monophosphate-regulated protein kinase (AMPK).

Objectives: This study sought to examine AMPK response to AF and associated metabolic stress, along with consequences for atrial cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) handling.

Methods: Calcium ion (Ca(2+)) transients (CaTs) and cell shortening (CS) were measured in dog and human atrial cardiomyocytes. AMPK phosphorylation and AMPK association with Ca(2+)-handling proteins were evaluated by immunoblotting and immunoprecipitation.

Results: CaT amplitude and CS decreased at 4-min glycolysis inhibition (GI) but returned to baseline at 8 min, suggesting cellular adaptation to metabolic stress, potentially due to AMPK activation. GI increased AMPK-activating phosphorylation, and an AMPK inhibitor, compound C (CompC), abolished the adaptation of CaT and CS to GI. The AMPK activator 5-aminoimidazole-4-carboxamide ribonucleotide (AICAR) increased CaT amplitude and CS, restoring CompC-induced CaT and CS decreases. CompC decreased L-type calcium channel current (ICa,L), along with ICa,L-triggered CaT amplitude and sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) Ca(2+) content under voltage clamp conditions in dog cells and suppressed CaT and ICa,L in human cardiomyocytes. Small interfering ribonucleic acid-based AMPK knockdown decreased CaT amplitude in neonatal rat cardiomyocytes. L-type Ca(2+) channel α subunits coimmunoprecipitated with AMPKα. Atrial AMPK-activating phosphorylation was enhanced by 1 week of electrically maintained AF in dogs; fractional AMPK phosphorylation was increased in paroxysmal AF and reduced in longstanding persistent AF patients.

Conclusions: AMPK is activated by metabolic stress and AF, and helps maintain the intactness of atrial ICa,L, Ca(2+) handling, and cell contractility. AMPK contributes to the atrial compensatory response to AF-related metabolic stress; AF-related metabolic responses may be an interesting new therapeutic target.

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http://dx.doi.org/10.1016/j.jacc.2015.04.056DOI Listing
July 2015
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