Navigation Links
Towards a natural pacemaker
Date:4/9/2009

Artificial heart pacemakers have saved and extended the lives of thousands of people, but they have their shortcomings such as a fixed pulse rate and a limited life. Could a permanent biological solution be possible?

Richard Robinson and colleagues at New York's Columbia and Stony Brook Universities certainly think so, and their work published in the latest issue of The Journal of Physiology brings the dream a step closer to reality.

The body's own natural pacemaker, called the sinoatrial (SA) node, is extremely vulnerable to damage during a heart attack, often leaving the patient with a weak, slow or unreliable heartbeat. The heart has limited ability to recover from the damage, so the conventional approach is to fit an electronic device to monitor and control the beat directly.

Therapies to help raise the heart rate biologically could be a much better solution, but there are some major hurdles. The way electrical signals are generated in the SA node and hence the heart rate are far from simple. There are three separate electrical pathways between cells, called HCN or 'funny' channels (because of their complex behaviour), that could be involved.

Dr Robinson's work helps to shed light on the secrets of the HCN channels, but more importantly describes a cell culture they have developed that accurately mimics HCN function in whole mammalian hearts, making future research in the area far quicker and easier.

The researchers used their new cellular model to genetically 'rewire' two of the HCN channels. The resulting heart rate was very rapid with irregular pauses, just as has already been observed in dogs and mice.

It is early days but the valuable new computer and cellular models are ideal for testing potential new drugs to influence heart rate and pave the way for new genetic biological pacemakers to be developed.

Dr Robinson commented that the new developments "will facilitate the development of practical biological pacemakers by allowing more complete and rapid assessment of individual channel mutations through combined culture and simulation studies prior to full testing in animal models."


'/>"/>

Contact: Melanie Thomson
melanie.thomson@wiley.com
44-186-547-6270
Wiley-Blackwell
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Cancer: Another step towards medication
2. Oceans journey towards the center of the Earth
3. Attitudes towards assisted reproduction and preimplantation genetic diagnosis
4. Scientists announce major progress towards historic Census of Marine Life in 2010
5. Researchers take first steps towards spinal cord reconstruction following injury
6. Research points towards early cancer detection
7. New simulation shows consequences of a world without Earths natural sunscreen
8. Synthesizing the most natural of all skin creams
9. A natural approach for HIV vaccine
10. Understanding natural crop defenses
11. Honest crabs, power to the hungry, nice mice and clever meerkats: News from the American Naturalist
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:3/7/2017)... 7, 2017 Brandwatch , the leading social intelligence ... Prince,s Trust to uncover insights to support its reporting, help ... The UK,s leading youth charity will be using Brandwatch Analytics ... get a better understanding of the topics and issues that are ... ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... YORK , March 2, 2017 Summary ... better understand Perrigo and its partnering interests and activities since ... ... Partnering Deals and Alliance since 2010 report provides an in-depth ... leading life sciences companies. On demand company reports ...
(Date:3/2/2017)... , March 2, 2017 Australian stem ... (ASX: CYP), has signed an agreement with the ... the Monash Biomedicine Discovery Institute and Department of Pharmacology ... conduct a further preclinical study to support the use ... of asthma.  Asthma is a chronic, ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:3/23/2017)... In today,s pre-market research, Stock-Callers.com ... Biotech industry: Sangamo Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: SGMO), Eyegate Pharmaceuticals ... and Regulus Therapeutics Inc. (NASDAQ: RGLS ). ... its rating on Pharmaceuticals/Biotechnology to "Overweight" from "Market Weight." Learn more ... ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... ... March 22, 2017 , ... ... regeneration from small lab samples to full-size tissues, bones, even whole organs to ... vascular system that delivers blood deep into the developing tissue. , Current ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... , March 22, 2017 Good Start Genetics, ... has eclipsed the 130 million covered lives mark through ... of Texas . With newly signed ... continues to enjoy strong payor acceptance based on the ... programs and genetic counseling, its industry-leading customer care and ...
(Date:3/22/2017)... York , March 22, 2017 ... largely fragmented, states a research report by Transparency Market ... Pfizer Inc., Amgen Inc., and AbbVie Inc., accounted for ... 2015. The prominent players in this market are focusing ... their product portfolio, which is likely to lead to ...
Breaking Biology Technology: