Calcium keeps the heart in rhythm

According to estimates by health experts, about two to three million people in Germany suffer from congestive heart failure (heart failure). In the course of this disease the Calcium balance changes in the heart. It can cause life-threatening heart rhythm disorders. Researchers have now discovered how the calcium loss can be reduced.

Up to three million Germans suffer from a heart

Two to three million people in Germany suffer from congestive heart failure (heart failure), more than 386,000 inhabitants heart insufficient patients are annually admitted to a clinic. As a result of this disease, the heart is no longer able to supply the body sufficiently with blood and oxygen. If the disease is not detected early and treated, death of the patient, in most cases, the failure of the mechanical function of the heart or strong heart arrhythmias that lead to cardiac arrest. For a better understanding of the disease, the research is, therefore, of the basic processes of the heart is of Central importance. German scientists have gained this new knowledge.

German researchers have gained new insights about the connection between heart failure, dangerous heart rhythm disturbances and a disrupted supply of Calcium in the heart. (Photo: psdesign1/

Calcium balance in the heart is changing

In a communication from the University medical center Göttingen (UMG) for an explanation of changes in the course of a cardiac of the calcium budget weakness in the heart.

The cause of a leak from a cell internal calcium store, the sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) via the cardiac ryanodine Receptor (RyR2). In this case, the SR loses during the filling phase of the heart (Diastole) increased calcium.

To date was not clarified, what is the significance of the SR-leak for the progress of the disease and the Occurrence of dangerous arrhythmias.

The Survival improve significantly

Heart researchers at the UMG have examined the treatment of the SR-leak to a cardiac insufficiency and heart rhythm disorders affects.

The working group “Cardiac Remodeling” under the direction of Prof. Dr. Karl Toischer, clinic for cardiology and pneumology of the UMG, was able to show in animal models that the permanent administration of the specific RyR2 stabilizer S36 reduces the loss of Calcium in the heart cells and thus a decrease of heart rhythm disorders.

“S36, thus, could be used as an anti-arrhythm organic drug is of clinical Benefit and Survival will significantly improve,” said Professor Toischer.

The results of the research work of the scientists in göttingen were published in the journal “Science Translational Medicine”.

Reduction of life-threatening heart rhythm disorders

As it is said in the message of the UMG, controls calcium in the heart, the contraction influences the electrical currents and is thus in direct connection to the heart rhythm.

Therefore, the göttingen-based researchers did not accept that the calcium leak in the SR are only the progression of heart failure encourage, but also to the emergence of rhythm disturbances may be involved.

In the animal experiment showed that a sealing of the calcium leaks through the gift of the new and very specific drug S36 improved Survival in heart failure.

But otherwise, as previously assumed, was not for the slowdown in the development of heart weakness, since the function of the heart improved. Even a magnification of the SR-leaks did not affect the progress of heart failure.

Rather, it turned out that a reduction of life-threatening heart rhythm disturbance is the cause of the improved Survival.

In future scientific studies to be tested, whether S36 is targeted as a drug for the treatment of arrhythmias.

The Basis for the development of new therapeutic approaches

“For the first Time, it could be shown that the leakage of the sarkoplasma results tables reticulum to life-threatening heart rhythm disorders,” says Prof. Dr. Gerd Hasenfuß, Director of the clinic for cardiology and pneumology, and Chairman of the heart center of the UMG.

“It could be a new group of drugs for the treatment of leakage and rhythymus disorders identified,” said the expert.

“The published results are thus an excellent Basis for the development of new therapeutic approaches for the treatment of arrhythmias.” (ad)