Background: Heart failure (HF) plays a critical role in the genesis of atrial fibrillation (AF). A high B-type natriuretic peptide (BNP) level occurs in patients with HF and in patients with AF. However, the role of BNP in the pathophysiology of AF is not clear. The purposes of this study were to evaluate the effects of BNP on pulmonary vein (PV) arrhythmogenesis. Methods and Results: Whole-cell patch clamp and fluorescence were used to study the action potential, ionic currents, and calcium homeostasis in isolated single rabbit PV cardiomyocytes before and after a BNP infusion, with or without ODQ (10 μM), milrinone (50 μM), or ouabain (1 μM). BNP increased PV spontaneous activity by 28.2 ± 7.5% at 100 nM and by 23.8 ± 9.1% at 300 nM. Similar to those with BNP, milrinone 50 μM increased the PV beating rate from 3.0 ± 0.2 to 3.6 ± 0.3 Hz (P < 0.0005, n = 7). In the presence of ODQ application, BNP didn't change PV spontaneous activity. BNP (100 nM) increased calcium transients (F/F0 from 1.6 ± 0.1 to 1.9 ± 0.2, n = 20, P < 0.05) and increased the pacemaker current (0.4 ± 0.1 to 1.0 ± 0.2 pA/pF, n = 17, P < 0.0005) in PV cardiomyocytes. Moreover, BNP (100 nM) increased the transient inward current, sodium currents, sodium-calcium exchanger currents, and L-type calcium current; but reduced late sodium currents and the Na-K pump in PV cardiomyocytes. Conclusion: BNP increases PV arrhythmogenesis, which may contribute to the genesis of atrial tachyarrhythmogenesis in HF. Cyclic GMP activation, phosphodiesterase 3 inhibition and Na+/K+-ATPase inhibition might participate in the BNP modulation of PV electrophysiology.
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