Malignant hyperthermia: Clinical and molecular aspects

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Content: Malignant hyperthermia (MH) is a potentially lethal pharmacogenetic disorder that affects genetically predisposed individuals. It manifests in susceptible individuals in response to exposure to Inhalant anesthetics, depolarizing muscle relaxants or extreme physical activity in hot environments. During exposure to these triggering agents, there is a rapid and sustained increase of myoplasmic calcium (Ca2+) concentration induced by hyperactivation of ryanodine receptor of skeletal muscle (RyR1), causing a profound change in Ca2+ homeostasis, featuring a hypermetabolic state. RyR1, Ca2+ release channels of sarcoplasmic reticulum, is the primary locus for MH susceptibility. Several mutations in the gene encoding the protein RyR1 have been identified; however, other genes may be involved. Actually, the standard method for diagnosing MH susceptibility is the muscle contracture test for exposure to halothane-caffeine (CHCT) and the only treatment is the use of dantrolene. However, with advances in molecular genetics, a full understanding of the disease etiology may be provided, favoring the development of an accurate diagnosis, less invasive, with DNA test, and also will provide the development of new therapeutic strategies for treatment of MH. Thus, this brief review aims to integrate molecular and clinical aspects of MH, gathering input for a better understanding of this channelopathy. © 2012 Elsevier Editora Ltda.




Correia, A. C. de C., Silva, P. C. B., & da Silva, B. A. da. (2012). Malignant hyperthermia: Clinical and molecular aspects. Revista Brasileira de Anestesiologia, 62(6), 820–837.

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