What is a channelopathy?

A channelopathy is a disorder that occurs when a person's ion channels do not work properly.

What are ion channels?

  • An ion is a molecule in our body that helps conduct messages. For example a chloride ion or sodium ion.

    • In muscle these ions go in and out of muscle cells and play an important role in activation, contraction and relaxation of the muscle.

  • An ion channel is the path that these ions use to move in and out of the muscle cell

Ion channel

What happens in muscle channelopathies?

  • In muscle channelopathies, the ion channels in a person's muscle do not work as they should and the movement of the ions either in or out of the channel is affected.
  • These channels do not work as they should is due to a ‘mistake’ in the gene that encodes that channel.
  • The mistake in the gene can either stop the channel from working properly or stop the channel from being made correctly.
  • This leads to the symptoms we see in the muscle channelopathies.

  • Depending on which ion channel is not working properly it causes different diseases.
  • The commonest muscle channelopathies that we see are:

Please click on the links to learn more about each of these conditions.