MDPI, International Journal of Molecular Sciences, 16(22), p. 8463, 2021
Atrial fibrillation (AF) is the most prevalent and progressive cardiac arrhythmia worldwide and is associated with serious complications such as heart failure and ischemic stroke. Current treatment modalities attenuate AF symptoms and are only moderately effective in halting the arrhythmia. Therefore, there is an urgent need to dissect molecular mechanisms that drive AF. As AF is characterized by a rapid atrial activation rate, which requires a high energy metabolism, a role of mitochondrial dysfunction in AF pathophysiology is plausible. It is well known that mitochondria play a central role in cardiomyocyte function, as they produce energy to support the mechanical and electrical function of the heart. Details on the molecular mechanisms underlying mitochondrial dysfunction are increasingly being uncovered as a contributing factor in the loss of cardiomyocyte function and AF. Considering the high prevalence of AF, investigating the role of mitochondrial impairment in AF may guide the path towards new therapeutic and diagnostic targets. In this review, the latest evidence on the role of mitochondria dysfunction in AF is presented. We highlight the key modulators of mitochondrial dysfunction that drive AF and discuss whether they represent potential targets for therapeutic interventions and diagnostics in clinical AF.