Korean J Physiol Pharmacol.  2016 Jan;20(1):111-117. 10.4196/kjpp.2016.20.1.111.

Inducibility of human atrial fibrillation in an in silico model reflecting local acetylcholine distribution and concentration

  • 1Division of Cardiology, Yonsei University Health System, Seoul 03722, Korea. hnpak@yuhs.ac
  • 2Department of Mechanical and Biomedical Engineering, Kangwon National University, Chuncheon 24341, Korea. ebshim@kangwon.ac.kr


Vagal nerve activity has been known to play a crucial role in the induction and maintenance of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, it is unclear how the distribution and concentration of local acetylcholine (ACh) promotes AF. In this study, we investigated the effect of the spatial distribution and concentration of ACh on fibrillation patterns in an in silico human atrial model. A human atrial action potential model with an ACh-dependent K+ current (I(KAch)) was used to examine the effect of vagal activation. A simulation of cardiac wave dynamics was performed in a realistic 3D model of the atrium. A model of the ganglionated plexus (GP) and nerve was developed based on the "octopus hypothesis". The pattern of cardiac wave dynamics was examined by applying vagal activation to the GP areas or randomly. AF inducibility in the octopus hypothesis-based GP and nerve model was tested. The effect of the ACh concentration level was also examined. In the single cell simulation, an increase in the ACh concentration shortened APD90 and increased the maximal slope of the restitution curve. In the 3D simulation, a random distribution of vagal activation promoted wavebreaks while ACh secretion limited to the GP areas did not induce a noticeable change in wave dynamics. The octopus hypothesis-based model of the GP and nerve exhibited AF inducibility at higher ACh concentrations. In conclusion, a 3D in silico model of the GP and parasympathetic nerve based on the octopus model exhibited higher AF inducibility with higher ACh concentrations.


Atrial fibrillation; Autonomic nervous system; Simulation; Vagal activation
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