Calcium Channels May Control Atrial Fibrillation

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Using a combination of molecular biology, electrophysiology, and genetically engineering mice, scientists at the University of Calgary’s and Alberta Health Services’ Libin Cardiovascular Institute of Alberta have discovered that a calcium-sensing-gate in the cardiac calcium release channel (ryanodine receptor) is responsible for the initiation of calcium waves and calcium-triggered arrhythmias.

Utilizing a genetically modified mouse model, they were able to manipulate the sensor and completely prevented calcium-triggered arrhythmias.

“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,” says Wayne Chen, the study’s senior author and University of Calgary- Libin Institute researcher. “These findings open a new chapter of calcium signaling and the discovery fosters the possibilities of new drug interventions.”

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