Cardiac ion channels and mechanisms for protection against atrial fibrillation

Rev Physiol Biochem Pharmacol. 2012;162:1-58. doi: 10.1007/112_2011_3.

Abstract

Atrial fibrillation (AF) is recognised as the most common sustained cardiac arrhythmia in clinical practice. Ongoing drug development is aiming at obtaining atrial specific effects in order to prevent pro-arrhythmic, devastating ventricular effects. In principle, this is possible due to a different ion channel composition in the atria and ventricles. The present text will review the aetiology of arrhythmias with focus on AF and include a description of cardiac ion channels. Channels that constitute potentially atria-selective targets will be described in details. Specific focus is addressed to the recent discovery that Ca(2+)-activated small conductance K(+) channels (SK channels) are important for the repolarisation of atrial action potentials. Finally, an overview of current pharmacological treatment of AF is included.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Action Potentials
  • Animals
  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents / pharmacology*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / drug therapy*
  • Arrhythmias, Cardiac / physiopathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / drug therapy*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / physiopathology*
  • Atrial Fibrillation / prevention & control*
  • Calcium / metabolism
  • Calcium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Electrophysiology
  • Heart / physiology
  • Humans
  • Ion Channels / metabolism*
  • Ions
  • Models, Biological
  • Potassium Channel Blockers / pharmacology*
  • Potassium Channels / metabolism

Substances

  • Anti-Arrhythmia Agents
  • Calcium Channel Blockers
  • Ion Channels
  • Ions
  • Potassium Channel Blockers
  • Potassium Channels
  • Calcium