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Researchers Find Link To Failing Heart In Muscular Dystrophy

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In a world first, researchers at The University of Western Australia have discovered a communication breakdown may be responsible for causing heart failure in people with muscular dystrophy.

According to a study, mice that lacked the protein dystrophin had impaired functional communication between a calcium channel in the muscle cell membrane and the mitochondria that are responsible for producing the energy.

It’s understood that the hearts of muscular dystrophy patients fail but the mechanisms are unknown. It has also been previously reported that a lack of the protein dystrophin (responsible for muscular dystrophy) alters calcium channel function. In the latest study the researchers have identified a link between the channel and the mitochondria that involves dystrophin. In muscular dystrophy the functional communication between the channel and the mitochondria is impaired.

“We had previously shown that the L-type calcium channel could alter metabolic activity in the heart,” Lead author Professor Livia Hool, explained. “The L-type calcium channel is widely recognised as being important for regulating the heart beat and contraction. We had demonstrated an additional role for the channel in regulating metabolic activity. This involved altered calcium influx but part of the response also involved proteins that maintain cell structure. This study...

The full text of this article can be purchased from Informit.