Atrial fibrillation (AF) represents the most common arrhythmia encountered in cardiology department. The purpose of this study was designed to investigate whether cilostazol, an oral phosphodiesterase 3 inhibitor (PDE3) could have protective effects on atrial remodeling in a canine model of AF and explore the potential molecular mechanisms.
Dogs were randomly assigned to Sham, Paced, Paced + cilostazol group, 7 dogs in each group. In Sham group, pacemaker was instrumented but without pacing. Rapid atrial pacing (RAP) at 600 or 500 bpm/min was maintained in Paced group and Paced + cilo group for 2 h or 2 weeks in acute or chronic experiment, respectively. The Paced + cilo group of dogs were pretreated with cilostazol orally (10 mg·kg·d, cilo) for 1 h or 2 days prior RAP induction and served as treatment group. Atrial effective refractory periods (AERP) at different basic cycle lengths (BCLs), inducibility, and duration time of AF were measured after pacing for 2 h. The blood sample, echocardiography, histopathology, inflammation and oxidative stress makers, protein and mRNA expression levels of matrix metalloproteinase-2 (MMP-2) and MMP-9 were detected after 2 weeks pacing in each group.
Significant changes in electrophysiological parameters were observed in the acute RAP canine model, the AERPs shortened with increased inducibility and duration of AF, which was attenuated by cilostazol (P < 0.05). The serum inflammation makers as interleukin-8 (IL-8) and toll like receptor 4 (TLR 4) levels and oxidative stress indicators like xanthine oxidative (XO) and reactive oxygen species (ROS) in the Paced group was significantly higher than that in Sham group (P < 0.01), and was significantly reduced by cilostazol treatment (P < 0.01). The level of mean platelet volume (MPV) which is one of the platelet indices was significantly elevated in Paced group (P < 0.01). While after cilostazol treated for 2 weeks, the level of MPV was obviously decreased than Paced group (P < 0.01). Pathology and echocardiography studies showed that cilostazol can also prevent RAP induced cardiac fibrosis and structural remodeling. The MPV level has close correlations with IL-8, TLR4, XO and ROS (all P < 0.01). MMP-2 and MMP-9 expression were significantly increased in Paced group (all P < 0.01), which can be attenuated by cilostazol.
Cilostazol may have protective effects on RAP-induced atrial remodeling by anti-inflammatory, anti-oxidative stress action and regulate the extracellular collagen matrix in a canine model. Moreover, MPV level is associated with inflammation and oxidative stress response of RAP, which might be an important predictors of new-onset and recurrent AF.

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