Abnormal myocardial presynaptic norepinephrine recycling in patients with Brugada syndrome

Peter Kies, Thomas Wichter, Michael Schäfers, Matthias Paul, Klaus P. Schäfers, Lars Eckardt, Lars Stegger, Eric Schulze-Bahr, Ornella Rimoldi, Günter Breithardt, Otmar Schober, Paolo G. Camici

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background - Life-threatening ventricular tachyarrhythmias can occur in young patients without structural heart disease (idiopathic forms). In many patients, these are typically triggered by an increased sympathetic tone, eg, by physical or mental stress. In contrast, in Brugada syndrome, ventricular tachyarrhythmias more often occur during rest or sleep when the vagal tone is predominant. Furthermore, adrenergic agonists can reduce the level of ST-segment elevation, whereas it is increased by parasympathetic agonists or adrenergic antagonists. The aim of this study was to investigate presynaptic and postsynaptic myocardial sympathetic function in patients with Brugada syndrome. Methods and Results - Nine patients with Brugada syndrome (6 male, 3 female; age, 41±13 years) were enrolled in this study. The cardiac autonomic nervous system was assessed noninvasively, quantifying myocardial presynaptic and postsynaptic sympathetic function by means of positron emission tomography with the norepinephrine analogue 11C-Hydroxyephedrine ( 11C-HED) and the nonselective β-blocker 11C-CGP 12177 (11C-CGP). Presynaptic sympathetic norepinephrine recycling, assessed by 11C-HED, was globally increased in patients with Brugada syndrome compared with a group of age-matched healthy control subjects (92.9±16.2 mL/g versus 69.1±14.2 mL/g; P11C-CGP, was similar in patients and control subjects (10.4±6.7 pmol/g versus 10.2±2.9 pmol/g; P=NS). Conclusions - The present study on autonomic innervation in Brugada syndrome describes an enhanced presynaptic norepinephrine recycling with preserved β-adrenoceptor density, further supporting the hypothesis of an autonomic dysfunction in Brugada syndrome. This is a further step toward the understanding of the pathophysiology of the disease with potential future impact on therapeutic strategies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3017-3022
Number of pages6
Issue number19
Publication statusPublished - Nov 9 2004


  • Death, sudden
  • Fibrillation
  • Nervous system, autonomic
  • Receptors, adrenergic, beta

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Physiology
  • Cardiology and Cardiovascular Medicine


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