A University of Colorado at Boulder study has shown the health of mice carrying a genetic mutation for a disease that is the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in people under 30 worsened considerably when the animals were fed a soy-based diet.
Male mice carrying the mutation for hypertrophic cardiomyopathy, or HCM, were severely affected by the soy diet, exhibiting progressively enlarged heart muscles and eventual heart failure, said CU-Boulder Professor Leslie Leinwand. When the mice in the study were switched to a diet of the milk protein, casein, the condition of the males improved markedly, said Leinwand, chief author of the study.
Female mice carrying the mutation for HCM, which is characterized by the thickening of heart muscle that can obstruct blood flow, were relatively unaffected, she said. The research team hypothesized that heart deterioration in male mice was due at least in part to plant-based estrogens in the soy food diet that triggered a cascade of biochemical reactions and ultimately increased apoptosis, or programmed cell death, in the heart.
Leslie Leinwand | EurekAlert!
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