Walther Straub Institute of Pharmacology and Toxicology
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Gudermann/Schredelseker Lab "Cardiac Pharmacology"

Head: PD Johann Schredelseker, PhD

Group members: Brigitte Mayerhofer, TA; Paulina Sander, B.Sc.;

Deutsch - AG Schredelseker

The heart lab

The Schredelseker lab is interested in pathophysiology and pharmacology of the heart. Our favorite element is calcium. Cardiac contraction and rhythmicity critically depend on calcium and disturbances in the calcium homeostasis of cardiac muscle are associated with cardiac diseases like arrhythmia and heart failure. To maintain this critical intracellular calcium homeostasis, cardiac myocytes have developed a sophisticated network of intracellular structures and pathways. Due to the strong association of intracellular calcium with cardiac diseases, this network represents an important pharmacological target structure.

Mitochondria play an important, yet barely understood role in this network. Almost one third of the cellular volume of a cardiomyocyte is occupied by mitochondria, primarily to cover the high energy demand of the hard working myocardium. However, mitochondria also shape intracellular calcium signals by taking up calcium and by closely interacting with the intracellular calcium stores of the sarcoplasmic reticulum. Disturbances of the mitochondria-sarcoplasmic reticulum interaction are associated with heart failure, arrhythmia, or ischemia-reperfusion injury. However, the molecular mechanisms of mitochondrial calcium handling and their physiological relevance remain poorly understood.

Goal of our research is to evaluate the potential of mitochondrial calcium handling as a pharmacological target structure for the treatment of cardiac diseases, to develop respective drugs, and to finally save the world.