According to a new research finding, a hormone that is also produced by the heart could help people with dangerous heart rhythm disorder. In fact, the hormone also helps regulate bone mass. Meanwhile, so far, the hormone calcitonin is perceived to be produced by the thyroid gland, with nil effects on the heart.
Conversely, the upper chambers of the heart produce approximately 16 times more calcitonin than cells in the thyroid, reveals the research published in Nature.
The hormone plays a key role to reduce atrial scarring, find researchers at Oxford University. Due to the scarring, it becomes harder for electrical impulses to travel smoothly through the upper chambers of the heart. This results in the atria – the upper chambers of the heart – to function in a chaotic manner, a condition known as atrial fibrillation (AF).
Muscle Cells examined to establish treatment efficacy
To establish this, the research team examined muscle cells from atrial biopsies. These muscle cells were taken from patients undergoing heart procedure and found that they generate calcitonin. During biopsies, cells of patients with atrial fibrillation produced six times less calcitonin than those of other people, observed researchers.
Further observation revealed, calcitonin receptor to be present in atrial cells responsible for producing collagen – a key component of scar tissue. Called fibroblasts, the atrial cells when treated with calcitonin produced 46 percent less collagen.
In fact, mice that were unable to generate calcitonin in their hearts showed 2.5 times more atrial scar tissue, as compared to mice that had normal level of calcitonin. In addition, these mice developed atrial fibrillation much earlier in life, and duration of atrial fibrillation episodes was approximately 16 times longer.