Engineers who have induced heart cells in culture to mimic the properties of the heart have used the tissue to gain new insight into the mechanisms that spawn irregular heart rhythms. Studies of the engineered cardiac tissue revealed that while electric shocks such as those delivered by defibrillators usually stopped aberrant waves, in some cases they cause them to accelerate and multiply.
The Duke University and Johns Hopkins University team, led by Nenad Bursac of Duke’s Pratt School of Engineering, reported its findings in the Feb. 1, 2006, Cardiovascular Research. Bursac and study co-author Leslie Tung conducted the experiments at Johns Hopkins before Bursac joined the Duke faculty. The work was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
In their experiments, the researchers sought to understand the characteristics of ventricular tachycardia -- a condition characterized by abnormally fast beating of the heart’s pumping chambers. In particular, they sought to understand how such arrhythmia may lead to ventricular fibrillation, in which the heart’s electrical activity becomes disordered, causing the ventricles to flutter rather than synchronously beat. As a result, pumping of the blood is inefficient, and death can result within minutes.
Kendall Morgan | EurekAlert!
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Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...
Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.
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Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.
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Proteins must be folded correctly to fulfill their molecular functions in cells. Molecular assistants called chaperones help proteins exploit their inbuilt folding potential and reach the correct three-dimensional structure. Researchers at the Max Planck Institute of Biochemistry (MPIB) have demonstrated that actin, the most abundant protein in higher developed cells, does not have the inbuilt potential to fold and instead requires special assistance to fold into its active state. The chaperone TRiC uses a previously undescribed mechanism to perform actin folding. The study was recently published in the journal Cell.
Actin is the most abundant protein in highly developed cells and has diverse functions in processes like cell stabilization, cell division and muscle...
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