Gene therapy to create biological pacemakers

Med Biol Eng Comput. 2007 Feb;45(2):167-76. doi: 10.1007/s11517-006-0112-7. Epub 2006 Oct 18.


Old age and a variety of cardiovascular disorders may disrupt normal sinus node function. Currently, this is successfully treated with electronic pacemakers, which, however, leave room for improvement. During the past decade, different strategies to initiate pacemaker function by gene therapy were developed. In the search for a biological pacemaker, various approaches were explored, including beta(2)-adrenergic receptor overexpression, down regulation of the inward rectifier current, and overexpression of the pacemaker current. The most recent advances include overexpression of bioengineered ion channels and genetically modified stem cells. This review considers the strengths and the weaknesses of the different approaches and discusses some of the different viral vectors currently used.

Publication types

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

MeSH terms

  • Adenoviridae / genetics
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / therapy*
  • Gene Transfer Techniques*
  • Genetic Therapy / methods*
  • Genetic Vectors / administration & dosage
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / genetics*
  • Ion Channels / metabolism
  • Mesenchymal Stem Cell Transplantation
  • Myocytes, Cardiac / metabolism
  • Sinoatrial Node / metabolism


  • Ion Channels