Hope for New Meds for Heart Arrhythmia
A common mechanism of cardiac arrhythmias, or irregular heartbeats, is calcium overload in the heart. However, the underlying mechanism has remained a mystery for decades. Now findings published in the January 19th 2014 edition of the journal Nature Medicine report the discovery of a physiological process that causes the calcium-triggered arrhythmias. The researchers at the Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta in Canada hope their work will one day help design molecularly tailored medications that correct the pathophysiology.
A release from the University of Calgary regarding the study notes that heart arrhythmia causes symptoms such as dizziness and fainting, or in severe cases, sudden arrhythmic death. The releases quotes senior author SR Wayne Chen, PhD as saying, "The calcium-sensing- gate mechanism discovered here is an entirely novel concept with potential to shift our general understanding of ion channel gating, cardiac arrhythmogenesis, and the treatment of calcium-triggered arrhythmias. These findings open a new chapter of calcium signaling and the discovery fosters the possibilities of new drug interventions."