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Prolonged ursodeoxycholic acid administration reduces acute ischaemia-induced arrhythmias in adult rat hearts

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Elisa Ferraro, Lidia Pozhidaeva, David S. Pitcher, Catherine Mansfield, Jia Han Benjamin Koh, Catherine Williamson, Oleg Aslanidi, Julia Gorelik, Fu Siong Ng

Original languageEnglish
Article number15284
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Published1 Dec 2020


  • s41598-020-72016-4

    s41598_020_72016_4.pdf, 2.15 MB, application/pdf

    Uploaded date:22 Oct 2020

    Version:Final published version

    Licence:CC BY

King's Authors


Acute myocardial ischaemia and reperfusion (I–R) are major causes of ventricular arrhythmias in patients with a history of coronary artery disease. Ursodeoxycholic acid (UDCA) has previously been shown to be antiarrhythmic in fetal hearts. This study was performed to investigate if UDCA protects against ischaemia-induced and reperfusion-induced arrhythmias in the adult myocardium, and compares the effect of acute (perfusion only) versus prolonged (2 weeks pre-treatment plus perfusion) UDCA administration. Langendorff-perfused adult Sprague–Dawley rat hearts were subjected to acute regional ischaemia by ligation of the left anterior descending artery (10 min), followed by reperfusion (2 min), and arrhythmia incidence quantified. Prolonged UDCA administration reduced the incidence of acute ischaemia-induced arrhythmias (p = 0.028), with a reduction in number of ventricular ectopic beats during the ischaemic phase compared with acute treatment (10 ± 3 vs 58 ± 15, p = 0.036). No antiarrhythmic effect was observed in the acute UDCA administration group. Neither acute nor prolonged UDCA treatment altered the incidence of reperfusion arrhythmias. The antiarrhythmic effect of UDCA may be partially mediated by an increase in cardiac wavelength, due to the attenuation of conduction velocity slowing (p = 0.03), and the preservation of Connexin43 phosphorylation during acute ischaemia (p = 0.0027). The potential antiarrhythmic effects of prolonged UDCA administration merit further investigation.

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