Research – University of Copenhagen

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Research Activities

DARC aims at clarifying how molecular alterations in the cardiac muscle cells cause electrical instability and generate arrhythmia.

You can find a summary of our scientific highlights for each year since 2005

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Cardiac arrhythmia is characterized by an inappropriate or abnormal heart rhythm. The heart generates it own rhythm, and disturbed generation or conduction of the electrical cardiac impulse cause arrhythmia.

The proteins generating the electrical impulse are the ion channels, which are pore-forming structures controlling the membrane potential by letting charged ions pass though the cell membranes. The activity of several cardiac ion channels is regulated by the nervous system or by hormones acting via receptor proteins. The electrical impulse is conducted by a third class of proteins called gap junction or connexins forming pores between the cardiac muscle cells. In DARC we work on all three classes of molecules and their accessory proteins to understand the molecular mechanisms predisposing to or causing arrhythmia.

The studies span from molecular biology to bedside. Most projects are multi-disciplinary making it possible to address the arrhythmia mechanism at many levels. A significant fraction of the work is being conducted in international laboratories. The focus of the studies is on the basic mechanism causing cardiac instability, but the inspiration or starting point does in several cases come from clinical or genetic studies in patients with cardiac arrhythmia.

Main projects

Since the understanding of arrhythmogenesis requires an integrative approach, results obtained in the projects have to be combined.

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