Heart cells have their own circadian rhythm

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Scientists have shown for the first time that heart cells regulate their circadian rhythms through daily changes in the levels of sodium and potassium ions within the cell.

It is known that the different levels of sodium and potassium ions inside and outside the heart cells They allow the electrical impulse that causes them to contract and drives the heartbeat.

Cell ion concentrations were thought to be fairly constant, but scientists have now discovered thatheart cells alter their internal sodium and potassium levels during the day and at night. This anticipates the daily demands of our life, allowing the heart to better adapt and sustain the increase in heart rate when we are active.

It is already known that there are daily clocks in the cells of the heart and other tissues; normally synchronized by hormonal signals that align our internal daily rhythms with the day / night cycle.

The daily rhythms of heart function have been known for years and are believed to be due to a increased stimulationon of the nervous system during the day. East

Now this new study shows that circadian rhythms within each heart cell can affect heart rate as well.

We believe that when the circadian clocks of the heart become desynchronized from those of the brain, such as during shift work, the cardiovascular system may be less able to cope with the daily stresses of work life

The team, led by scientists at the MRC Laboratory for Molecular Biology in Cambridge, UK, say that understanding how these changes in ion levels alter heart function during the day can help explain why shift workers are more vulnerable to heart problems. – because the ionic rhythms driven by the heart’s clocks are “out of sync” with the stimulation of the brain’s clocks. This new understanding could lead to better treatments and preventive measures to combat heart conditions.

The study, published in the journal
«Nature Communications»
, found that these daily rhythms in sodium and potassium occur to allow changes in cellular proteins, with ions literally pumped in to “make room” for daily increases in protein level.

The study showed that circadian rhythms in heart rate and electrical activity are clearly evident in both mice and humans, and that abrupt changes in routine behavior or sleep patterns can disrupt these normal heart rhythms.

While this work was done using cells and mice in the laboratory, their findings are supported by a recent peer-linked study led by Professor David Bechtold from
Manchester University
.

Their study showed that circadian rhythms in heart rate and electrical activity are clearly evident in both mice and humans, and that abrupt changes in routine behavior or sleep patterns can disrupt these normal heart rhythms.

John O’Neill He adds that “many life-threatening heart problems occur at specific times of the day and more frequently in shift workers. We believe that when the circadian clocks of the heart become desynchronized from those of the brainAs occurs during shift work, our cardiovascular system may be less able to cope with the daily stresses of work life. This probably makes the heart more vulnerable to dysfunction. ‘

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