Nerve sprouting induced by radiofrequency catheter ablation in dogs

Yuji Okuyama, Hui Nam Pak, Yasushi Miyauchi, Yen Bin Liu, Chung Chuan Chou, Hideki Hayashi, Katherine J. Fu, Walter F. Kerwin, Saibal Kar, Cary Hata, Hrayr S. Karagueuzian, Michael C. Fishbein, Peng Sheng Chen, Lan S. Chen

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Citations (Scopus)


Objectives: The purpose of this study was to test the hypothesis that radiofrequency (RF) catheter ablation results in cardiac nerve sprouting. Background: Nerve sprouting plays a role in cardiac arrhythmogenesis. Whether or not nerve sprouting occurs after RF catheter ablation is unclear. Methods: We performed RF catheter ablation in the right atrium (RA) and right ventricle (RV) in 10 dogs, which then were sacrificed in 2 hours (acute group, n = 5) or 1 month (chronic group, n = 5). Seven normal dogs were used as control. Immunohistochemical staining for growth-associated protein 43 (GAP-43) was performed to measure growing (sprouting) nerves. Results: A significant increase of GAP-43 immunoreactive nerve fiber density was observed at the RA ablation sites in 2 hours (4,410 ± 1,379 μm2/mm2) and in 1 month (2,948 ± 666 μm2/mm2) after ablation compared to controls (1,377 ± 471 μm2/mm2, P = .0001). At remote sites (>2 cm away from ablation sites) of RA, RF ablation also resulted in robust nerve sprouting in both the acute group (5,846 ± 3241 μm2/mm2) and the chronic group (6,030 ± 2226 μm2/mm2). RF ablation in the RV did not increase nerve density at the ablation sites, but nerve density was increased at remote sites in 2 hours (1,345 ± 451 μm2/mm2, P = .0136) that was reduced down to the normal control level (722 ± 337 μm2/mm2) in 1 month. Conclusions: Nerve sprouting occurred within 2 hours after RF ablation in both the RA and RV and persisted for at least 1 month in the RA but not the RV. The increased GAP-43+ nerve densities developed at both the ablation and the remote sites.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)712-717
Number of pages6
JournalHeart Rhythm
Issue number6
Publication statusPublished - 2004 Dec

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine
  • Physiology (medical)


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