Molecular Mechanisms of Inherited Arrhythmias

Author(s): Cordula M. Wolf, Charles I. Berul

Journal Name: Current Genomics

Volume 9 , Issue 3 , 2008

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Inherited arrhythmias and conduction system diseases are known causes of sudden cardiac death and are responsible for significant mortality and morbidity in patients with congenital heart disease and electrical disorders. Knowledge derived from human genetics and studies in animal models have led to the discovery of multiple molecular defects responsible for arrhythmogenesis. This review summarizes the molecular basis of inherited arrhythmias in structurally normal and altered hearts. On the cellular and molecular levels, minor disturbances can provoke severe arrhythmias. Ion channels are responsible for the initiation and propagation of the action potential within the cardiomyocyte. Structural heart diseases, such as hypertrophic or dilated cardiomyopathies, increase the likelihood of cardiac electrical abnormalities. Ion channels can also be upor down-regulated in congenital heart disease, altering action potential cellular properties and therefore triggering arrhythmias. Conduction velocities may be inhomogeneously altered if connexin function, density or distribution changes. Another important group of electrophysiologic diseases is the heterogeneous category of inherited arrhythmias in the structurally normal heart, with a propensity to sudden cardiac death. There have been many recent relevant discoveries that help explain the molecular and functional mechanisms of long QT syndrome, Brugada syndrome, catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia, and other electrical myopathies. Identification of molecular pathways allows the identification of new therapeutic targets, for both disease palliation and cure. As more disease-causing mutations are identified and genotypic-phenotypic correlation is defined, families can be screened prior to symptom-onset and patients may potentially be treated in a genotype-specific manner, opening the doors of cardiac electrophysiology to the emerging field of pharmacogenomics.

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Article Details

Year: 2008
Page: [160 - 168]
Pages: 9
DOI: 10.2174/138920208784340768
Price: $65

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