Specific Aim Project #1: Demonstrate viability of large animal models of
AF through non-invasive assessment of changes in atrial tissue.
Specific Aim Project #2: Begin development of a transgenic goat model of atrial fibrillation based on overexpression of TGF-b1 in the myocardium.
The program currently has two projects underway – one involving the mechanical altering of genes and one involving the genetic altering of genes. The first entails the introduction of pacemakers in laboratory animals to mechanically induce AF, allowing the use of the electroanatomical mapping to monitor progression. This project takes place at both USU and the University of Utah. In the second project, AF is introduced through the alteration of specific genes using two separate methods. The first of the two methods deals with the over expression of TGF-beta, especially in cardiac muscle cells, leading to fibrosis in the atrium. The second method more specifically looks to imitate inherited AF by knocking out NUP-155. This second study, while remaining part of the UCAP, is being conducted solely at USU in conjunction with its VDID department.