Changes in a single molecule lead to cardiac arrhythmia

Potassium is a mineral that helps muscles contract. The heart muscle requires normal levels of potassium to continue to beat properly.The second phase of the research will examine whether some heart drugs can help protect the heart from damage during a cardiac event, such as stroke and heart failure.

While observing a dialysis machine with the other students, he saw a young patient who needs a kidney transplant, and was not likely to get the necessary intervention, which was very expensive and relatively rare at that time, during 1980 in China . It motivated me to go to the medicine, said Chen.

Many people have many reasons for potassium in the blood, causing an irregular heartbeat, he said. When people have low levels of potassium, is dangerous. For over thirty years, we have not understood why it happened. We are the first to write our hypothesis as to why this happens.

No one knew why the cells of the heart are changed, said Chen, who joined the University in the fall of 2007. Discovered that this molecule loses its selectivity is an important piece of information.

Cancer patients need to pay attention, he added. All types of chemical treatments to reduce the concentrations of potassium in the blood. These side effects on the kidneys of low potassium in the blood and cause cardiac arrhythmia. ‘

(Medical Xpress) – A biologist at the University at Albany and his research team discovered that a small molecule, the heart may have important implications for understanding irregular heartbeat, or arrhythmia. Haijun Chen, UAlbany assistant professor of biological sciences, and published the results of his team on the June 7 issue of Science Signaling.

When the level of potassium ions in the blood decreases, heart cells become abnormal, causing an arrhythmia. Chen’s team discovered that a molecule that is selected for the transport of potassium ions into the cells of the heart loses its selectivity and determines the anomalous behavior of the cells of the heart, causing arrhythmias.

Chen believes that the future of medicine is to prevent disease before it happens.

Chen began his studies in his native China as a student in biomedical engineering at Huazhong University of Science and Technology. During his internship, he met many patients on dialysis. I have seen many young people between 20, some of which had only six months of life, he said.