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Lab Reports
August 6, 2014

Small Molecule Treats Heart Arrhythmias in Fish

JAMA. 2014;312(5):477. doi:10.1001/jama.2014.9732

After screening thousands of compounds for effects on zebrafish genetically altered to model a rare, inherited heart disorder called arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM), a team of scientists found a small molecule capable of reducing some key features of the disease (Asimaki A et al. Sci Transl Med. 2014;6[240]:240ra74).

The disorder, which is characterized by frequent cardiac arrhythmias, is a significant cause of sudden death in teens and young adults. The disease is caused by mutations in genes that encode proteins in the desmosome, a specialized complex located between individual heart cells. Although scientists know about these mutations, they have yet to determine the mechanisms involved in cell injury and the development of arrhythmias.

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