A new study has found that carbon monoxide could be used to protect against life-threatening arrhythmias after a heart attack.
Restoring blood flow to the heart following a heart attack can leave patients with ventricular fibrillation, a dangerous heart rhythm which puts people at greater risk of sudden cardiac death. Previous research has shown carbon monoxide, which is produced naturally in heart cells, can guard against ventricular fibrillation, however the mechanism behind why this happens was unknown.
Scientists at Aston University in Birmingham (UK) and Peking University in China have found carbon monoxide works by blocking the channels that carry potassium into heart cells – an essential process required to reset the cells before their next heartbeat.
When someone has an arrhythmia their heart beats more erratically. By blocking the potassium channels researchers were able to slow down the heart rate and counteract the dangerous effects of the abnormal rhythm, which may lead to new life-saving treatments for patients with ventricular fibrillation.
Professor Asif Ahmed, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Health and Professor of Vascular Biology at Aston University, said, “Our latest research highlights that compounds that deliver low levels of carbon monoxide can block specific ion channels in the heart muscle to allow the muscle time to contract properly and forcefully in a coordinated fashion. This discovery provides a new potential therapeutic target."
Professor Peter Weissberg, Medical Director at the British Heart Foundation, which helped fund the research, said, “This exciting science explains how the carbon monoxide molecule, which is produced by our heart cells during a heart attack, can protect hearts from potentially fatal disturbances of heart rhythm.
“This opens the way for research to develop drugs that mimic this effect and that could one day protect patients who are at risk of life threatening arrhythmias.“It’s only through generous public donations that we are able to continue funding research like this which will one day help us win the fight against heart disease.”
Citation: Carbon monoxide inhibits inward rectifier potassium channels in cardiomyocytes, Shenghui Liang, Quanyi Wang, Weiwei Zhang, Hailin Zhang, Shengjiang Tan, Asif Ahmed&Yuchun Gu, Nature Communications 5, Article number: 4676, doi:10.1038/ncomms5676
- PHYSICAL SCIENCES
- EARTH SCIENCES
- LIFE SCIENCES
- SOCIAL SCIENCES
Subscribe to the newsletter
Stay in touch with the scientific world!
Know Science And Want To Write?
- Artificial Intelligence: It's Time To Talk About What Emotions We Want AI To Have
- Highlights From ICNFP 2015
- Most Idiotic Rejection Of Course From Philosopher Of Science Not Grasping Relativity
- Lettuces Now, What Next - Could Astronauts Get All Their Oxygen And Food From Algae Or Plants?
- Supertranslations And Eternal Ghosts: Black Holes No Closer To Being Understood
- Innate GMO Potato Deregulated By USDA
- Brain Size Matters When It Comes To Remembering
- "Carney3 - when Columbus sailed to America - his boat was the results of several millennia of development..."
- "The ISS being used to do even more unnecessary human-factors research is a waste of time and money..."
- "I have a friend who has 2 Ph.D., one in nuclear physics and one in philosophy. His general observation..."
- "The top spin is indeed being measured, with results in agreement with standard model predictions..."
- "Without a magnetic field on Mars, it should be patently obvious that terraforming attempts would..."
- “Shock Therapy” – Not a Cuckoo’s Nest, a Valid Depression Rx
- Innate: Simplot genetically engineered potato gets USDA nod for deregulation
- Sorry, AIDS Deniers, It’s Only a Headline
- Mission Not Yet Accomplished on Vaccines
- Cigarettes, Now With An Organic Health Halo
- Bee Wary of Tales of the ‘Beepocalypse’
- Pollution and weather influence heart attack outcomes?
- Fish oil diet versus gut microbes
- Naps linked to reduced blood pressure and fewer medications
- Why girls are less interested in computer science: Classrooms are too 'geeky'
- Frogs make irrational choices - and what means for understanding animal mating