Presence of advanced glycation end products (AGEs) in the heart induces a proinflammatory phenotype. However, the presence of AGEs within atrial tissue of atrial fibrillation (AF) patients is unknown and was analyzed here. Left atrial appendage tissue from 33 AF patients and 9 controls was analyzed for the presence of the major AGEs N(ε)-(carboxymethyl)lysine (CML), VCAM-1, neutrophilic granulocytes, lymphocytes, and macrophages in both the fat tissue and myocardium separately. The total amount of fibrosis was also analyzed. Presence of CML was significantly higher in blood vessels of the left atrial appendage in AF patients as compared to controls, independent of diabetes mellitus. In AF patients, VCAM-1 expression in blood vessels and the numbers of infiltrated neutrophilic granulocytes, lymphocytes, and macrophages significantly increased compared to controls, and were highest in the fat tissue; there was no significant difference in fibrosis compared to controls. Interestingly, total amount of CML and fibrosis in AF and control patients correlated positively. Finally, there was no difference between AF patients based on AF type or surgical indication in the presence of CML, VCAM-1 expression, inflammatory cells, and fibrosis. Our results indicate that in AF the intramyocardial blood vessels of the left atrial appendage have an increased CML presence and proinflammatory status coinciding with a local increase in the number of inflammatory cells.
Copyright © 2015 American Society for Investigative Pathology. Published by Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.