Journal of the American College of Cardiology

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

PMID 26139058


Atrial fibrillation (AF) is associated with metabolic stress, which activates adenosine monophosphate-regulated protein kinase (AMPK). This study sought to examine AMPK response to AF and associated metabolic stress, along with consequences for atrial cardiomyocyte Ca(2+) handling. 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. 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. 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.