Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia: recent mechanistic insights

Cardiovasc Res. 2005 Aug 15;67(3):379-87. doi: 10.1016/j.cardiores.2005.04.027.


Cardiac excitation-contraction coupling occurs by a calcium ion-mediated mechanism in which the signal of action potential is converted into Ca2+ influx into the cardiomyocytes through the sarcolemmal L-type calcium channels. This is followed by Ca2+-induced release of additional Ca2+ ions from the lumen of the sarcoplasmic reticulum into the cytosol via type 2 ryanodine receptors (RyR2). RyR2 channels form large complexes with additional regulatory proteins, including FKBP12.6 and calsequestrin 2 (CASQ2). Catecholamines, released into the body fluids during emotional or physical stress, activate Ca2+-induced Ca2+ release by protein kinase A-mediated phosphorylation of RyR2. Catecholaminergic polymorphic ventricular tachycardia (CPVT) is an insidious, early-onset and highly malignant, inherited disorder characterized by effort-induced ventricular arrhythmias in the absence of structural alterations of the heart. At least some cases of sudden, unexplained death in young individuals may be ascribed to CPVT. Mutations of the RyR2 gene cause autosomal dominant CPVT, while mutations of the CASQ2 gene may cause an autosomal recessive or dominant form of CPVT. The steps of the molecular pathogenesis of CPVT are not entirely clear, but inappropriate "leakiness" of RyR2 channels is thought to play a role; the underlying mechanisms may involve an increase in the basal activity of the RyR2 channel, alterations in its phosphorylation status, a defective interaction of RyR2 with other molecules or ions, such as FKBP12.6, CASQ2, or Mg2+, or its abnormal activation by extra- or intraluminal Ca2+ ions. Beta-adrenergic antagonists have proven to be of value in prevention of arrhythmias in CPVT patients, but occasional treatment failures call for alternative measures. There is great interest at present for the development of novel antiarrhythmic drugs for CPVT, as the same approaches may be applied for treatment of more common forms of life-threatening arrhythmias, such as those arising during ischemia and heart failure.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Calcium Channels / metabolism
  • Calcium Signaling / physiology
  • Calsequestrin / genetics*
  • Calsequestrin / metabolism
  • Death, Sudden, Cardiac
  • Humans
  • Polymorphism, Genetic*
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / genetics*
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel / metabolism
  • Sarcoplasmic Reticulum / metabolism*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / genetics*
  • Tachycardia, Ventricular / metabolism


  • CASQ2 protein, human
  • Calcium Channels
  • Calsequestrin
  • Ryanodine Receptor Calcium Release Channel