Abstract

The involvement of fibrosis as an underlying pathology in heart diseases is becoming increasingly clear. In recent years, fibrosis has been granted a causative role in heart diseases and is now emerging as a major contributor to Atrial Fibrillation (AF) pathogenesis. AF is the most common arrhythmia encountered in the clinic, but the substrate for AF is still being debated. Consensus in the field is a combination of cardiac tissue remodeling, inflammation and genetic predisposition. The extracellular matrix (ECM) is subject of growing investigation, since measuring circulatory biomarkers of ECM formation and degradation provides both diagnostic and prognostic information. However, fibrosis is not just fibrosis. Each specific collagen biomarker holds information on regulatory mechanisms, as well as information about which section of the ECM is being remodeled, providing a detailed description of cardiac tissue homeostasis. This review entails an overview of the implication of fibrosis in AF, the different collagens and their significance, and the potential of using biomarkers of ECM remodeling as tools for understanding AF pathogenesis and identifying patients at risk for further disease progression.

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