31 January 2017
A substance in oil is directly associated with electrical dysfunction of the heart

A substance in oil is directly associated with electrical dysfunction of the heart, which can lead to sudden death.

A study by researchers from Stanford and Manchester Universities, and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, published today in Nature Scientific Reports, describes a new mechanism providing evidence of cardiac electrical dysfunctions induced by pollution.

This study deepens the results of a first study launched in particular following the explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig in 2010 in the Gulf of Mexico; It was shown that fish exposed to this oil spill exhibited developmental abnormalities, leading researchers to look more closely at polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons (PAHs). One particular element has thus been identified as deleterious to the heart of fish: by its direct effect on potassium channel, phenanthrene induces a prolongation of the action potential, leading to a risk of sudden death.

Fabien Brette, author of this article, is now researcher Inserm and head of cellular electrophysiology team of the Electrophysiology and Heart Modeling Institute (Liryc) in Bordeaux. With Caroline Cros, co-author and now post-doctoral researcher at IHU Liryc, Fabien Brette would like to go further and observe these results on a human heart. Indeed, after observing on a fish heart cell the effect of this phenanthrene, namely the increase of the action potential duration in less than one minute, it remains to extend the study on the whole heart, then on human heart.
IHU Liryc is working on a human heart research program, the Cadence program (cardiac fibrillation and heart electrical dyssynchrony), made possible by organs donation for research. This program, which is the essence of the Liryc through its multidisciplinary approach bringing together expertise in basic and clinical research, proposes an integrative approach, from molecule to human. The prospects for progress

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