Background The role of the autonomic nervous system (ANS) on atrial fibrillation (AF) is difficult to demonstrate in the intact human left atrium (LA) due to technical limitations of the current electrophysiological mapping technique. We examined the effects of the ANS on the initiation and maintenance of AF by employing a realistic in silico human left atrium (LA) model integrated with a model of ganglionated plexi (GPs). Methods We incorporated the morphology of the GP and parasympathetic nerves in a three-dimensional (3D) realistic LA model. For the model of ionic currents, we used a human atrial model. GPs were stimulated by increasing the IK[ACh], and sympathetic nerve stimulation was conducted through a homogeneous increase in the ICa-L. ANS-induced wave-dynamics changes were evaluated in a model that integrated a patient's LA geometry, and we repeated simulation studies using LA geometries from 10 different patients. Results The two-dimensional model of pulmonary vein (PV) cells exhibited late phase 3 early afterdepolarization- like activity under 0.05μM acetylcholine (ACh) stimulation. In the 3D simulation model, PV tachycardia was induced, which degenerated to AF via GP (0.05μM ACh) and sympathetic (7.0×ICa-L) stimulations. Under sustained AF, local reentries were observed at the LA-PV junction. We also observed that GP stimulation reduced the complex fractionated atrial electrogram (CFAE)-cycle length (CL, p<0.01) and the life span of phase singularities (p<0.01). GP stimulation also increased the overlap area of the GP and CFAE areas (CFAE-CL≤120ms, p<0.01). When 3 patterns of virtual ablations were applied to the 3D AF models, circumferential PV isolation including the GP was the most effective in terminating AF.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Biochemistry, Genetics and Molecular Biology(all)
- Agricultural and Biological Sciences(all)