Snail1 is positively correlated with atrial fibrosis in patients with atrial fibrillation and rheumatic heart disease
- Furong Guo
- Xin Yi
- Mingjiang Li
- Jinrong Fu
- Sha Li
Affiliations: Department of Cardiology, Renmin Hospital of Wuhan University, Wuhan, Hubei 430060, P.R. China
- Published online on: August 31, 2017 https://doi.org/10.3892/etm.2017.5084
Copyright: © Guo
et al. This is an open access article distributed under the
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The present study investigated the association between Snail1 and atrial fibrosis in patients with atrial fibrillation (AF) and rheumatic heart disease (RHD) and to determine the possible mechanism underlying this interrelation. A total of 19 patients were included in the current study and were divided into two groups: A sinus rhythm (SR) group (n=9) and an AF group (n=10). All patients underwent heart valve replacement surgery, during which ~200 mg right atrium tissue was obtained. Hematoxylin and eosin and Masson's trichrome‑stained sections were used to evaluate the morphological changes of cardiomyocytes and the level of fibrosis. Immunohistochemistry was applied to observe the location and expression of Snail1. Reverse transcription‑quantitative polymerase chain reaction was used to measure Snail1 mRNA levels. Western blotting was used to determine changes in the expression of Snail1, as well as in the expression of proteins involved in the Wnt pathway, including Wnt1, Wnt 3a, Wnt8a, Wnt5a and Wnt11. Compared with the SR group, expanded cardiomyocytes and higher collagen deposition was detected in the atrial tissue of the AF group. The expression of Snail1 mRNA and protein was significantly higher in the AF group than in the SR group (P<0.05). Additionally, the expression of Wnt1, 3a and 8a in the canonical Wnt signaling pathway, and Wnt5a and 11 in the noncanonical Wnt signaling pathway were significantly increased in the AF group. Furthermore, the phosphorylation level of glycogen synthase kinase 3β (GSK3β) and the levels of β‑catenin and GSK3β were significantly increased in the AF group compared with the SR group (P<0.05). Snail1 may be involved in the development and maintenance of atrial fibrosis in patients with atrial fibrillation and rheumatic heart disease and may be developed as a novel biomarker to evaluate myocardial fibrosis in the future. Additionally, the current study suggests that the Wnt signaling pathway may participate in the process of increased Snail1 expression and atrial fibrosis in patients with AF and RHD.