What happens when atrial t-tubules disappear in heart failure?

Functional significance of atrial t-tubule loss and its disorder following recovery from heart failure

Katharine Dibb (lead researcher)

Manchester, University of

Start date: 01 August 2013 (Duration 3 years)

People with heart failure are at higher risk of atrial fibrillation, an abnormal heart rhythm which greatly increases the risk of stroke. Dr Katharine Dibb and colleagues from the University of Manchester are researching the structure and function of t-tubules – deep foldings in heart cells which help spread the electrical pulse of the heartbeat – in the atria, the upper chambers of the heart. The loss of t-tubules – which occurs during conditions such as heart failure – is thought to contribute to atrial fibrillation.

This research team aims to understand what exactly happens when t-tubules disappear in heart failure, and how loss of these structures may be linked to heart-rhythm disorders, like atrial fibrillation. In particular, they will focus on the role of calcium in this process, because calcium is important in spreading the heartbeat properly. They are looking in sheep because t-tubules in sheep are similar to those in humans. It’s important to clarify the link between heart failure and atrial fibrillation in order to develop new treatments for people with heart failure, which could help prevent dangerous heart rhythms from occurring.

Project details

Grant amount £250,392
Grant type Project Grant
Start Date 01 August 2013
Duration 3 years
Reference PG/12/89/29970
Status In progress

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