Atrial Fibrillation Ablation Increases Inflammation-Chemokine Modulation Suppresses Activation of Leukocytes Isolated after Ablation

Cardiovasc Hematol Disord Drug Targets. 2017;17(3):195-204. doi: 10.2174/1871529X17666170918140442.


Aims: Atrial fibrillation (AF) ablation is associated with increased circulating markers of inflammation. Innate immune or inflammation pathways up-regulate mononuclear cell responses and may increase the risk for recurrent arrhythmia. Chemokines and serine protease coagulation pathways both activate innate immune responses. Here, we measured inflammatory markers in peripheral blood samples from patients after cryoballoon and/or radiofrequency pulmonary vein isolation and assessed the capacity for the inhibition of chemokine and serine protease pathways to block cell activation.

Methods: Markers of inflammation were measured in 55 patients immediately before and one day after AF ablation. Peripheral blood mononuclear cells (PBMCs) isolated from 19 patients were further tested for responsiveness to two anti-inflammatory proteins ex vivo using fluorescence assays and RT-qPCR analysis of gene expression.

Results: White blood cells (WBC), C-reactive protein, fibrinogen and troponin T levels were significantly elevated after ablation. PBMCs isolated from the circulating blood had increased activation with Phorbol 12-myristate 13-acetate. Cell activation, as measured by membrane fluidity, was blunted after treatment with a broad-spectrum chemokine modulating protein, M-T7, which interferes with chemokine/glycosaminoglycan (GAG) interactions, but not by Serp-1, a serine protease inhibitor (serpin) that targets both thrombotic and thrombolytic pathway proteases. Differential gene expression changes in the apoptotic pathway were identified with M-T7 and Serp-1.

Conclusions: Patients undergoing AF ablation have significantly increased inflammatory markers. Inhibition of chemokine signaling, but not serine proteases, reduced the activation of monocytes isolated from patients, in vitro. Targeting chemokines have the potential to reduce post-ablation activation of circulating leukocytes.

Keywords: Atrial fibrillation; ablation; chemokine; inflammation; monocyte; serine protease; serpin..

Publication types

  • Research Support, N.I.H., Extramural
  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Atrial Fibrillation / pathology
  • Atrial Fibrillation / therapy*
  • Biomarkers / blood
  • C-Reactive Protein / metabolism
  • Catheter Ablation / adverse effects*
  • Chemokines / antagonists & inhibitors
  • Chemokines / blood
  • Chemokines / metabolism
  • Female
  • Gene Expression / genetics
  • Humans
  • Inflammation / blood
  • Inflammation / drug therapy*
  • Inflammation / etiology*
  • Leukocyte Count
  • Leukocytes*
  • Macrophage Activation / drug effects
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Monocytes / metabolism
  • Protease Inhibitors / pharmacology
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors / therapeutic use
  • Signal Transduction / drug effects


  • Biomarkers
  • Chemokines
  • Protease Inhibitors
  • Serine Proteinase Inhibitors
  • C-Reactive Protein