Physiology congratulates Dr. Marit Wiersma, researcher in the team of Prof. dr. Bianca Brundel, Department of Physiology, Amsterdam UMC, VUmc, with obtaining a Dr. Dekker grant via the Dutch Heartfoundation.

With this grant, Marit will investigate how a mutation in the desmin and lamin protein can lead to the development of atrial fibrillation.

During this project Dr. Wiersma is studying whether a disturbed protein balance is present in a specific group of AF patients where the disorder is familial.

In this group of patients (20% of the total number of AF patients), a genetic disorder (mutation) contributes to the development of AF. In the Netherlands, several families have been identified with mutations in the proteins desmin (DES) or lamin A/C (LMNA), proteins that are important for the structure and contraction of the heart cell.

These mutations not only led to familial AF, but also to the development of dilating cardiomyopathy (DCM, heart muscle disease).

How mutations in DES and LMNA contribute to the development of familial AF is still unknown. Dr. Wiersma is going to investigate whether a disruption in protein management plays an important role and she already has important indications that these mutations lead to mitochondrial and contractile dysfunction.

In addition, extra attention will be paid to differences between men and women with a mutation and the development of atrial fibrillation.

The Physiology wishes Dr. Wiersma and the entire research team the best of luck in carrying out this study and hope to come a step closer to the solution of atrial fibrillation.

For more information regarding atrial fibrillation: AFIP