Inhibition of potassium currents is involved in antiarrhythmic effect of moderate ethanol on atrial fibrillation
Excessive consumption of alcohol is a well-established risk factor of atrial fibrillation (AF). However, the effects of moderate alcohol drinking remain to be elucidated. This study was designed to determine the effects of moderate ethanol ingestion on atrial fibrillation and the electrophysiological mechanisms. In acetylcholine-induced canine and mouse AF models, the moderate ethanol prevented the generation and persistence of AF through prolonging the latent period of AF and shortening the duration of AF. The action potential duration (APD) was remarkably prolonged under the concentration range of 12.5–50.0 mM ethanol in guinea pig atrial myocytes. Ultra-rapid delayed rectified potassium currents (IKv1.5) were markedly inhibited by 12.5–50.0 mM ethanol in a concentration-dependent manner. Ethanol with 50.0 mM could inhibit rapid delayed rectifier potassium currents (IhERG). Ethanol under 6.25–50.0 mM did not affect on inward rectifier potassium currents (IKir2.1). Collectively, the present study provided an evidence that moderate ethanol intake can prolong the APD of atrial myocytes by inhibition of IKv1.5 and IhERG, which contributed to preventing the development and duration of AF.