Potassium channels, which are essential to a wide range of physiological processes, are involved in many diseases. Thus, alterations in such important proteins due to congenital deficiencies or to undesirable side-effects of common medications might lead to dysfunctions. Heart is one of those tissues where potassium channels play a crucial role. The maintenance of cardiac action potential appears to be the consequence of the varied activity of several types of potassium channels. Recently, compounds that modify cardiac potassium channel activity and so alter action potential duration have been developed as new anti-arrhythmic agents. However, several cardiomyopathies appear as undesirable side-effects of the use of drugs that directly or indirectly act on the same potassium channels. Thus, new patents have been created allowing the prediction of the inherited predisposition to any known potassium-linked cardiac channelopathy.
Keywords: Potassium channels, cardiovascular therapy, channelopathy, long QT syndrome, arrithmiogenesis, heart diseases
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