Research Group: Autoimmune Channelopathies (Group Leader: Prof. Dr. med. Jin Li)

Cardiac arrhythmias are the main contributors to cardiovascular morbidity and mortality worldwide. While structural heart disease and inherited cardiac conditions represent the major underlying cause, the etiology of heart rhythm disturbances in a considerable proportion of patients remain unexplained.

Contrary to past assumptions, increasing evidence indicates the involvement of autoantibodies in cardiac arrhythmias through cross-reaction with cardiac antigens. As cardiac ion channels are key regulators of each heartbeat, any perturbance of their function may disrupt normal cardiac electrophysiology. In this context, the primary goal of Prof. Li’s group is to establish autoantibody profiles of patients with different cardiac arrhythmias. Elucidating the pathomechanisms with state-of-the-art in vitro and in vivo models will help us understand this emerging field of antibody-mediated arrhythmia, holding promise for novel treatment approaches for patients.

Ongoing research lines

  • Establishing autoantibody profiles of patients with different cardiac arrhythmias
  • Unveiling and understanding the mechanism of action of autoantibody-induced arrhythmias with in vitro and in vivo models
  • Identifying autoantibodies as novel biomarkers and therapeutic targets

Research Team

Recruitment is ongoing


2022-26 SNSF Eccellenza Professorial Fellowship (PCEFP3_203333), P
2022-23 Fondation Institut Universitaire de Cardiologie et de Pneumologie de Québec (IUCPQ), Co-PI
2020 SNSF Spark (CRSK-3_190182), PI
2020 Swiss Heart Foundation (FF19110), Co-PI
2017-21 SNSF Ambizione (PZ00P3_173961), PI
2017-18 Fondation Gustave & Simone Prévot, PI
2017 Jubiläumsstiftung von SwissLife, PI
2012-13 Deutsche Forschungsgemeinschaft (DFG, LI2376/1-1), PI

  • Li J**. The role of autoantibodies in arrhythmogenesis. Curr Cardiol Rep 2021;23:3.
  • Maguy A, Tardif JC, Busseuil D, Ribi C, Li J**. Autoantibody signature in cardiac arrest. Circulation 2020;141:1764-1774.
  • Maguy A, Kucera JP, Wepfer JP, Forest V, Charpentier F, Li J**. KCNQ1 antibodies for immunotherapy of long QT syndrome type 2. J Am Coll Cardiol 2020; 75:2140-52.
  • Li J**, Maguy A. Autoimmune channelopathies: questions remain. Nat Rev Cardiol 2017; doi: 10.1038/nrcardio.2017.110.
  • Li J, Maguy A, Duverger JE, Vigneault P, Comtois P, Shi Y, Tardif JC, Thomas D, Nattel S. Induced KCNQ1 autoimmunity accelerates cardiac repolarization in rabbits: potential significance in arrhythmogenesis and antiarrhythmic therapy. Heart Rhythm 2014; 11:2092-100.
  • Li J, Seyler C, Wiedmann F, Schmidt C, Schweizer PA, Becker R, Katus HA, Thomas D. Anti-KCNQ1 K+ channel autoantibodies increase IKs current and are associated with QT interval shortening in dilated cardiomyopathy. Cardiovasc Res 2013; 98:496-503.
  • Li J*, Goeser S*, Leuschner F, Volz HC, Buss S, Andrassy M, Oettl R, Pfitzer G, Katus HA, Kaya Z. Mucosal tolerance induction in autoimmune myocarditis and myocardial infarction. Int J Cardiol 2013; 162:245-52.
  • Leuschner F*, Li J*, Goeser S, Reinhardt L, Oettl R, Bride P, Pfitzer G, Remppis A, Giannitsis E, Katus HA, Kaya Z. Absence of autoantibodies against cardiac troponin I predicts improvement of left ventricular function after acute myocardial infarction. Eur Heart J 2008; 29:1949-55.

*contributed equally
**corresponding author