Atherosclerosis exacerbates arrhythmia following myocardial infarction: Role of myocardial inflammation

Nicole M. De Jesus, Lianguo Wang, Anthony W. Herren, Jingjing Wang, Fatemah Shenasa, Donald M. Bers, Merry L. Lindsey, Crystal M. Ripplinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

70 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND: Atherosclerotic animal models show increased recruitment of inflammatory cells to the heart after myocardial infarction (MI), which impacts ventricular function and remodeling. OBJECTIVE The purpose of this study was to determine whether increased myocardial inflammation after MI also contributes to arrhythmias. METHODS: MI was created in 3 mouse models: (1) atherosclerotic (apolipoprotein E deficient [ApoE-/-] on atherogenic diet, n = 12); (2) acute inflammation (wild-type [WT] given daily lipopolysaccharide [LPS] 10 μg/day, n = 7); and (3) WT (n = 14). Shamoperated (n = 4) mice also were studied. Four days post-MI, an inflammatory protease-activatable fluorescent probe (Prosense680) was injected intravenously to quantify myocardial inflammation on day 5. Optical mapping with voltage-sensitive dye was performed on day 5 to assess electrophysiology and arrhythmia susceptibility. RESULTS: Inflammatory activity (Prosense680 fluorescence) was increased approximately 2-fold in ApoE+MI and LPS+MI hearts vs WT+MI (P<.05) and 3-fold vs sham (P<.05). ApoE+MI and LPS+MI hearts also had prolonged action potential duration, slowed conduction velocity, and increased susceptibility to pacing-induced arrhythmias (56% and 71% vs 13% for WT+MI and 0% for sham, respectively, P<.05, for ApoE+MI and LPS+MI groups vs both WT+MI and sham). Increased macrophage accumulation in ApoE+MI and LPS+MI hearts was confirmed by immunofluorescence. Macrophages were associated with areas of connexin43 (Cx43) degradation, and a 2-fold decrease in Cx43 expression was found in ApoE+MI vs WT+MI hearts (P<.05). ApoE+MI hearts also had a 3-fold increase in interleukin-1β expression, an inflammatory cytokine known to degrade Cx43. CONCLUSION: Underlying atherosclerosis exacerbates post-MI electrophysiological remodeling and arrhythmias. LPS+MI hearts fully recapitulate the atherosclerotic phenotype, suggesting myocardial inflammation as a key contributor to post-MI arrhythmia.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)169-178
Number of pages10
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Arrhythmia
  • Atherosclerosis
  • Inflammation
  • Myocardial infarction
  • Optical mapping

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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