A team of researchers have created a detailed computational model of the electrophysiology of congestive heart failure, a leading cause of death. This "virtual heart" could help medical researchers study new drug therapies - according to the study published in PLOS Computational Biology.
Researchers from the University of California created a model that can simulate subtle changes from the cellular and tissue levels of the heart, up to the whole heart itself, then show the results of the associated electrocardiogram (ECG), a common tool that helps doctors diagnose heart abnormalities.
At the cellular and tissue levels, the model can show what happens to the heart when the levels and flow of calcium, potassium and sodium ions are changed. It also can take into account the speed at which a cell's ion channels, which take in those ions, work at.
At the organ level, the researchers created an anatomically detailed model of the heart, which then shows the big picture of what happens when various critical chemicals and electrophysiologic components of a healthy working heart are tweaked.
Additionally, during their study, the team found that ventricular fibrillation, where the waves of excitation that pump blood out of the heart become fragmented and discoordinated, can be caused by a heart failure-related slowdown in cellular processes at the top (basal) region of heart. The researchers also used their model to plan a new drug strategy against this heart failure form of fibrillation.
The research was supported by the National Institutes of Health and the American Heart Association.
In your coverage please use this URL to provide access to the freely available article in PLOS Computational Biology: http://dx.
Contact: Name: Aditya Ponnaluri
Ph: Number: (909) 434-4194
Citation: Ponnaluri AVS, Perotti LE, Liu M, Qu Z, Weiss JN, Ennis DB, et al. (2016) Electrophysiology of Heart Failure Using a Rabbit Model: From the Failing Myocyte to Ventricular Fibrillation. PLoS Comput Biol 12(6): e1004968. doi:10.1371/journal. pcbi.1004968
Image Caption: During ventricular fibrillation, a curved wave of activation reenters resting tissue and causes wavebreak.
Image Credit: Ponnaluri et al
Funding: This work was funded by the National Institutes of Health (grant P01 HL78931; http://grants.
Competing Interests: The authors have declared that no competing interests exist.
About PLOS Computational Biology
PLOS Computational Biology features works of exceptional significance that further our understanding of living systems at all scales through the application of computational methods. For more information follow @PLOSCompBiol on Twitter or contact email@example.com.
Media and Copyright Information
For information about PLOS Computational Biology relevant to journalists, bloggers and press officers, including details of our press release process and embargo policy, visit http://journals.
PLOS Journals publish under a Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits free reuse of all materials published with the article, so long as the work is cited.
About the Public Library of Science
The Public Library of Science (PLOS) PLOS is a nonprofit publisher and advocacy organization founded to accelerate progress in science and medicine by leading a transformation in research communication. For more information, visit http://www.
This press release refers to upcoming articles in PLOS Computational Biology. The releases have been provided by the article authors and/or journal staff. Any opinions expressed in these are the personal views of the contributors, and do not necessarily represent the views or policies of PLOS. PLOS expressly disclaims any and all warranties and liability in connection with the information found in the release and article and your use of such information.