Charles Brenner, PhD, professor of Biochemistry and Internal Medicine; Kaikobad Irani, MD, professor in Cardiovascular Medicine and of Radiation Oncology; and Barry London, MD, PhD, director of the Abboud Cardiovascular Research Center and of the Division of Cardiovascular Medicine, have received a 4-year, $2.37M grant from the National Institutes of Health to study ways to prevent cardiac arrhythmia. As co-PIs on this collaborative R01, the three researchers will determine how metabolism alters sodium channel structure and its function in the heart. “The unique expertise of each PI,” Irani said, “is vital for the success of this project.
“Abnormalities in cardiac sodium channels cause inherited arrhythmia syndromes,” London said, “and are present in acquired heart conditions that can result in sudden death, such as heart failure.” Metabolism in cardiac cells produce agents like NAD+ and related metabolites that are important for cellular energy and redox metabolism. These products control posttranslational modifications on the cardiac sodium currents, critical to the heart’s electrical activity. By better understanding how the sodium ion channel transfers this energy and what happens when it breaks down, the three hope to identify ways this activity can be protected or repaired.