Send to:

Choose Destination
See comment in PubMed Commons below
Handb Exp Pharmacol. 2006;(171):331-47.

Molecular basis of isolated cardiac conduction disease.

Author information

  • 1Vanderbilt University Medical Center, 560 Preston Research Building, 2220 Pierce Avenue, Nashville, TN 37232-6602, USA.


Cardiac conduction disorders are among the most common rhythm disturbances causing disability in millions of people worldwide and necessitating pacemaker implantation. Isolated cardiac conduction disease (ICCD) can affect various regions within the heart, and therefore the clinical features also vary from case to case. Typically, it is characterized by progressive alteration of cardiac conduction through the atrioventricular node, His-Purkinje system, with right or left bundle branch block and QRS widening. In some instances, the disorder may progress to complete atrioventricular block, with syncope and even death. While the role of genetic factors in conduction disease has been suggested as early as the 1970s, it was only recently that specific genetic loci have been reported. Multiple mutations in the gene encoding for the cardiac voltage-gated sodium channel (SCN5A), which plays a fundamental role in the initiation, propagation, and maintenance of normal cardiac rhythm, have been linked to conduction disease, allowing for genotype-phenotype correlation. The electrophysiological characterization of heterologously expressed mutant Na+ channels has revealed gating defects that consistently lead to a loss of channel function. However, studies have also revealed significant overlap between aberrant rhythm phenotypes, and single mutations have been identified that evoke multiple distinct rhythm disorders with common gating lesions. These new insights highlight the complexities involved in linking single mutations, ion-channel behavior, and cardiac rhythm but suggest that interplay between multiple factors could underlie the manifestation of the disease phenotype.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
PubMed Commons home

PubMed Commons

How to join PubMed Commons

    Supplemental Content

    Loading ...
    Write to the Help Desk