How a faulty gene may lead to atrial fibrillation

Understanding the function of PITX2 in the adult left atrium

Paulus Kirchhof (lead researcher)

Birmingham, University of

Start date: 04 November 2013 (Duration 5 years)

Consultant cardiologist Professor Paulus Kirchhof from the University of Birmingham has been awarded a Senior Clinical Research Fellowship to establish a world-leading research programme in Birmingham into atrial fibrillation (AF), the most common heart rhythm disturbance.

In people with AF the regular electrical impulses in the top chambers of their heart are disrupted. This greatly increases their risk of having a stroke, and developing heart failure. We know that alterations to DNA near a gene called PITX2, which is required for development of many structures in the embryo, are linked with early development of AF.

Professor Kirchhof has found that usually the left atrium (but not other parts of the heart) has high levels of PITX2. He will now study why this is important, and whether alterations in the PITX2 gene can lead to AF.

This research will further our knowledge of how AF develops and may reveal new ways to prevent, diagnose or treat it.

Project details

Grant amount £1,210,736
Grant type Fellowship
Application type Senior Clinical Research Fellowship
Start Date 04 November 2013
Duration 5 years
Reference FS/13/43/30324
Status In progress

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