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Heart Clocks: Scientists Uncover a Circadian Rhythm in Heart Cells That Affects Their Daily Function


Photo: Copyright MRC LMB

A new study has shown how circadian rhythms in heart cells help to change heart function over the course of the day and may explain why shift workers are more vulnerable to heart problems.

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 inside the cell. The different levels of sodium and potassium ions inside and outside heart cells allow the electrical impulse that causes their contraction and drives the heartbeat. Cellular ion concentrations were thought to be ...