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Molecular pathway discovery critical to understanding arrhythmia

Molecular pathway discovery critical to understanding arrhythmia
27th October 2011

A molecular pathway has been discovered that is critical to understanding cardiac arrhythmia and other heart muscle problems.

Researchers examined ion channels and found a previously unknown intracellular trafficking pathway that controls the number and location of the ion channels on the cell surface, affecting the passage of electrical charges and controlling the beat of the heart and other muscle activity.

Professor Paul Welling, of the University of Maryland School of Medicine, stated: "This study illuminates a new pathway for therapeutic intervention.

"Drugs that interfere with or augment this signal may be used to control the number and location of ion channels in such a way to fight arrhythmia."

Virus infection is a common cause of cardiac arrhythmia, as receptors necessary to maintain a regular heartbeat are infected by viruses.

The discovery was made by researchers in Berlin recently, who found that virus infection and autoimmune disease can block receptors.

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