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Abstract Aims ST-elevation myocardial infarction is associated with high levels of cardiac sympathetic drive and release of the co-transmitter neuropeptide Y (NPY). We hypothesized that despite beta-blockade, NPY promotes arrhythmogenesis via ventricular myocyte receptors. Methods and results In 78 patients treated with primary percutaneous coronary intervention, sustained ventricular tachycardia (VT) or fibrillation (VF) occurred in 6 (7.7%) within 48 h. These patients had significantly (P < 0.05) higher venous NPY levels despite the absence of classical risk factors including late presentation, larger infarct size, and beta-blocker usage. Receiver operating curve identified an NPY threshold of 27.3 pg/mL with a sensitivity of 0.83 and a specificity of 0.71. RT-qPCR demonstrated the presence of NPY mRNA in both human and rat stellate ganglia. In the isolated Langendorff perfused rat heart, prolonged (10 Hz, 2 min) stimulation of the stellate ganglia caused significant NPY release. Despite maximal beta-blockade with metoprolol (10 μmol/L), optical mapping of ventricular voltage and calcium (using RH237 and Rhod2) demonstrated an increase in magnitude and shortening in duration of the calcium transient and a significant lowering of ventricular fibrillation threshold. These effects were prevented by the Y1 receptor antagonist BIBO3304 (1 μmol/L). Neuropeptide Y (250 nmol/L) significantly increased the incidence of VT/VF (60% vs. 10%) during experimental ST-elevation ischaemia and reperfusion compared to control, and this could also be prevented by BIBO3304. Conclusions The co-transmitter NPY is released during sympathetic stimulation and acts as a novel arrhythmic trigger. Drugs inhibiting the Y1 receptor work synergistically with beta-blockade as a new anti-arrhythmic therapy.

Original publication




Journal article


European Heart Journal


Oxford University Press (OUP)

Publication Date





2168 - 2179