Catheter-Based Renal Denervation Reduces Atrial Nerve Sprouting and Complexity of Atrial Fibrillation in Goats

Dominik Linz, Arne van Hunnik, Mathias Hohl, Felix Mahfoud, Milan Wolf, Hans-Ruprecht Neuberger, Barbara Casadei, Svetlana N. Reilly, Sander Verheule, Michael Boehm, Ulrich Schotten*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


Background-Atrial fibrillation (AF) leads to structural and neural remodeling in the atrium, which enhances AF complexity and perpetuation. Renal denervation (RDN) can reduce renal and whole-body sympathetic activity. Aim of this study was to determine the effect of sympathetic nervous system modulation by RDN on atrial arrhythmogenesis. Methods and Result-Eighteen goats were instrumented with an atrial endocardial pacemaker lead and a burst pacemaker. Percutaneous catheter-based RDN was performed in 8 goats (RDN-AF). Ten goats undergoing a sham procedure served as control (SHAM-AF). AF was induced and maintained by burst pacing for 6 weeks. High-resolution mapping was used to record epicardial conduction patterns of the right and left atrium. RDN reduced tyrosine hydroxylase-positive sympathetic nerve staining and resulted in lower transcardiac norepinephrine levels. This was associated with reduced expression of nerve growth factor-beta, indicating less atrial nerve sprouting. Atrial endomysial fibrosis content was lower and myocyte diameter was smaller in RDN-AF. Median conduction velocity was higher (75+/-9 versus 65+/-10 cm/s, P=0.02), and AF cycle length was shorter in RDN-AF compared with SHAM-AF. Left atrial AF complexity (4.8+/-0.8 fibrillation waves/AF cycle length versus 8.5+/-0.8 waves/AF cycle length, P=0.001) and incidence of breakthroughs (2.0+/-0.3 versus 4.3+/-0.5 waves/AF cycle length, P=0.059) were lower in RDN-AF compared with SHAM-AF. Blood pressure was normal and not significantly different between the groups. Conclusions-RDN reduces atrial sympathetic nerve sprouting, structural alterations, and AF complexity in goats with persistent AF, independent of changes in blood pressure.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)466-U294
JournalCirculation-Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2015


  • atrial fibrillation
  • autonomic nervous system
  • complexity
  • mapping
  • nerve sprouting
  • remodeling
  • renal denervation

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