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Role for immune cells known as mast cells in atrial fibrillation

Date:
December 23, 2009
Source:
Journal of Clinical Investigation
Summary:
Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is the most common type of abnormal heart beat. It is characterized by scarring of the atrial region of the heart (a hallmark known as atrial fibrosis). Although atrial fibrosis is thought to perpetuate Afib, exactly how it develops has not been determined. Some research has suggested a role for inflammation in the process. Consistent with this, a team of researchers has now identified a role for immune cells known as mast cells in inducing atrial fibrosis and Afib in a mouse model of the condition.

Atrial fibrillation (Afib) is the most common type of abnormal heart beat. It is characterized by scarring of the atrial region of the heart (a hallmark known as atrial fibrosis). Although atrial fibrosis is thought to perpetuate Afib, exactly how it develops has not been determined. Some research has suggested a role for inflammation in the process.

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Consistent with this, a team of researchers led by Issei Komuro, at Chiba University Graduate School of Medicine, Japan, has now identified a role for immune cells known as mast cells in inducing atrial fibrosis and Afib in a mouse model of the condition.

The research appears in the Journal of Clinical Investigation.

Initial analysis indicated that in the mouse model of Afib, mast cells accumulate and become activated in the atria of the hearts, which are characterized by atrial fibrosis and enhanced susceptibility to induction of Afib. Stabilizing mast cells and generating mast cell-deficient mice reduced fibrotic atrial remodeling and susceptibility to Afib induction. Mechanistic studies determined that atrium-infiltrating mast cells increased production of the molecule PDGF-A and that this promoted atrial fibrosis and susceptibility to Afib induction.

The authors therefore suggest that targeting the mast cell/PDGF-A axis might provide a way to prevent Afib in stressed hearts, although they caution that further studies are needed to determine whether the same mechanism operates upstream of Afib in large animals.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Journal of Clinical Investigation. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. Chien-Hui Liao, Hiroshi Akazawa, Masaji Tamagawa, Kaoru Ito, Noritaka Yasuda, Yoko Kudo, Rie Yamamoto, Yukako Ozasa, Masanori Fujimoto, Ping Wang, Hiromitsu Nakauchi, Haruaki Nakaya and Issei Komuro. Cardiac mast cells cause atrial fibrillation through PDGF-A-mediated fibrosis in pressure-overloaded mouse hearts. Journal of Clinical Investigation, 2009; DOI: 10.1172/JCI39942

Cite This Page:

Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Role for immune cells known as mast cells in atrial fibrillation." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 23 December 2009. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221215728.htm>.
Journal of Clinical Investigation. (2009, December 23). Role for immune cells known as mast cells in atrial fibrillation. ScienceDaily. Retrieved February 26, 2015 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221215728.htm
Journal of Clinical Investigation. "Role for immune cells known as mast cells in atrial fibrillation." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2009/12/091221215728.htm (accessed February 26, 2015).

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