Background: Inflammation, an important mechanism in the pathogenesis of atrial fibrillation (AF), can be regulated by CD36 in monocytes. Objective: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that CD36 in monocytes contributes to the pathogenesis of AF. Methods: A prospective study that enrolled 87 patients with AF and 70 without AF was conducted. Results: Compared to patients without AF, patients with AF had monocytes with a lower level of CD36 protein, which correlated with left atrial diameter, left atrial emptying fraction, and left atrial mean voltage. In AF patients after catheter ablation, Kaplan-Meier analysis showed that the sinus rhythm maintenance rate was higher in patients with high CD36 levels. Low CD36 level was an independent predictor of recurrence. After successful ablation, the CD36 level increased by 57%, reaching that of control patients. CD36 level was not correlated with the level of high-sensitivity C-reactive protein. Analysis of mRNA levels from a buffy coat revealed that AF patients had lower CD36 and interleukin-10 levels and higher peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α levels, with CD36 level positively correlated with interleukin-10 level but inversely correlated with peroxisome proliferator-activated receptor-γ and tumor necrosis factor-α levels. Conclusion: Low CD36 levels in circulating monocytes were associated with AF occurrence and predicted recurrence after catheter ablation. The link between CD36 and AF identified a novel AF-related inflammatory pathway.
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