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Frontiers in Cardiovascular Medicine


Background: There are controversies on the pathophysiological alteration in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) undergoing pulmonary vein isolation using different energy sources.

Objectives: We evaluated the changes in plasma proteins in acute phase post-ablation in patients receiving cryoballoon ablation, radiofrequency balloon ablation, or radiofrequency ablation.

Methods: Blood samples from eight healthy controls and 24 patients with AF were taken on the day of admission, day 1, and day 2 post-ablation and analyzed by the Olink proximity extension assay. Proteins were identified and performed with enrichment analysis. Protein-protein interaction network and module analysis were conducted using Cytoscape software.

Results: Of 181 proteins, 42 proteins in the cryoballoon group, 46 proteins in the radiofrequency balloon group, and 43 proteins in the radiofrequency group significantly changed after ablation. Most of the proteins altered significantly on the first day after ablation. Altered proteins were mainly involved in cytokine-cytokine receptor interaction. Both balloon-based ablations showed a similar shift toward enhancing cell communication and regulation of signaling while inhibiting neutrophil chemotaxis. However, radiofrequency ablation presented a different trend. Seed proteins, including osteopontin, interleukin-6, interleukin-10, C-C motif ligand 8, and matrix metalloproteinase-1, were identified. More significant proteins associated with hemorrhage and coagulation were selected in balloon-based ablations by machine learning.

Conclusion: Plasma protein response after three different ablations in patients with AF mainly occurred on the first day. Radiofrequency balloon ablation shared similar alteration in protein profile as cryoballoon ablation compared with radiofrequency ablation, suggesting that lesion size rather than energy source is the determinant in pathophysiological responses to the ablation.



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Olink, atrial fibrillation, bioinformatics, catheter ablation, proteomics