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Pharmacol Ther. 2009 Aug;123(2):151-77. doi: 10.1016/j.pharmthera.2009.03.006. Epub 2009 Apr 1.

Ryanodine receptor-mediated arrhythmias and sudden cardiac death.

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  • 1Wales Heart Research Institute, Cardiff University School of Medicine, Cardiff CF144XN, UK.


The cardiac ryanodine receptor-Ca2+ release channel (RyR2) is an essential sarcoplasmic reticulum (SR) transmembrane protein that plays a central role in excitation-contraction coupling (ECC) in cardiomyocytes. Aberrant spontaneous, diastolic Ca2+ leak from the SR due to dysfunctional RyR2 contributes to the formation of delayed after-depolarisations, which are thought to underlie the fatal arrhythmia that occurs in both heart failure (HF) and in catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT). CPVT is an inherited disorder associated with mutations in either the RyR2 or a SR luminal protein, calsequestrin. RyR2 shows normal function at rest in CPVT but the RyR2 dysfunction is unmasked by physical exercise or emotional stress, suggesting abnormal RyR2 activation as an underlying mechanism. Several potential mechanisms have been advanced to explain the dysfunctional RyR2 observed in HF and CPVT, including enhanced RyR2 phosphorylation status, altered RyR2 regulation at luminal/cytoplasmic sites and perturbed RyR2 intra/inter-molecular interactions. This review considers RyR2 dysfunction in the context of the structural and functional modulation of the channel, and potential therapeutic strategies to stabilise RyR2 function in cardiac pathology.

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