Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Slowing The Racing Heart

Date:
May 14, 2007
Source:
University of Illinois at Chicago
Summary:
Scientists have discovered how we put the brakes on a racing heartbeat and slow the heart's "fight-or-flight" reaction to adrenaline.

Scientists have discovered how we put the brakes on a racing heartbeat. Researchers at the University of Illinois at Chicago explain in the May 11 issue of Circulation Research how an enzyme acts on the heart's pacemaker to slow the rapid beating of the heart's "fight-or-flight" reaction to adrenaline.

A single cell in the upper right chamber is responsible for setting the pace of the beating heart, triggering its neighbor cells to beat. In the human heart, one cell -- the pacemaker cell -- beats faster or slower to induce a rhythmic heartbeat that varies to increase or decrease the blood flow to the body as we eat, sleep or exercise.

"Disturbances of pacemaker control are common in heart diseases. When the heartbeat becomes non-rhythmic and chaotic, it can result in fatal arrhythmias and stroke," said R. John Solaro, UIC distinguished university professor and principal investigator of the study.

Current treatment of arrhythmia requires destruction of tissue surrounding a chaotic pacemaker, followed by insertion of a mechanical pacemaker that can regulate the heartbeat. "Understanding the molecular regulation of the heart's pacemaker opens the possibility of less drastic treatment options, including drug interventions," said Solaro, who is also director of the center for cardiovascular research and head of physiology and biophysics at UIC.

Solaro worked with Yunbo Ke, UIC research assistant professor of physiology and biophysics and first author of the paper, and colleagues in England at Oxford and Manchester on characterizing and isolating the pacemaker cell.

The UIC researchers demonstrated that an enzyme called Pak 1, present in high concentrations in the heart, signals depression in the action of adrenaline and adrenaline-like chemicals on the pacemaker cell, playing an important role in slowing down the heart rate. "The enzyme works through calcium and potassium channels that we know to be key players in the generation and regulation of the pacemaker activity," said Ke.

"Although adrenaline and other mechanisms that accelerate the heart rate have been well studied, mechanisms that might act as a brake are poorly understood," said Solaro.

"Identification of this previously unknown molecular mechanism for slowing the heartbeat may offer new avenues of diagnosis, drug design and treatment of many common heart diseases," said Solaro.

"Further, now that we know something of how this enzyme works in the pacemaker cell, we may discover it is involved in the regulation of other processes, particularly in the brain, where it is also highly expressed," added Ke.

Other contributors include Dr. Derek Tarrar, Thomas Collins, Stevan Rakovic, Paul Mattick and Michiko Yamasaki at Oxford; Dr. Ming Lei at the University of Manchester; and Mark Brodie at UIC.

The study was supported by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the Wellcome Trust and the British Heart Foundation.


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Illinois at Chicago. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Cite This Page:

University of Illinois at Chicago. "Slowing The Racing Heart." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 14 May 2007. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070511073340.htm>.
University of Illinois at Chicago. (2007, May 14). Slowing The Racing Heart. ScienceDaily. Retrieved August 31, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070511073340.htm
University of Illinois at Chicago. "Slowing The Racing Heart." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2007/05/070511073340.htm (accessed August 31, 2014).

Share This




More Health & Medicine News

Sunday, August 31, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

We've Got Mites Living In Our Faces And So Do You

Newsy (Aug. 30, 2014) A new study suggests 100 percent of adult humans (those over 18 years of age) have Demodex mites living in their faces. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

Liberia Continues Fight Against Ebola

AFP (Aug. 30, 2014) Authorities in Liberia try to stem the spread of the Ebola epidemic by raising awareness and setting up sanitation units for people to wash their hands. Duration: 00:41 Video provided by AFP
Powered by NewsLook.com
California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

California Passes 'yes-Means-Yes' Campus Sexual Assault Bill

Reuters - US Online Video (Aug. 30, 2014) California lawmakers pass a bill requiring universities to adopt "affirmative consent" language in their definitions of consensual sex, part of a nationwide drive to curb sexual assault on campuses. Linda So reports. Video provided by Reuters
Powered by NewsLook.com
3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

3 Things To Know About The Ebola Outbreak's Progression

Newsy (Aug. 29, 2014) Here are three things you need to know about the deadly Ebola outbreak's progression this week. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins