Mayo Clinic researchers have discovered genetic mutations in heart patients that make them vulnerable to heart failure because they produce an abnormal protein that cant decode stress messages from the body.
Mayo researchers are the first to realize that these proteins do not recognize the stress alarm. As a result, they cant properly respond to cue adjustments within the heart that normally manage stress. These defects make the heart muscle susceptible to damage. The Mayo Clinic research teams report appears in the journal Nature Genetics, v. 36; no. 4, April 2004 (www.nature.com).
Research team leader Andre Terzic, M.D., Ph.D., a specialist in cardiac biology, describes the work as groundbreaking because it reveals critical molecular mechanisms which may in turn point to possible new treatments for heart failure. "Very little is known about stress tolerance of the heart in health and disease," says Dr. Terzic. "This discovery opens a new field of investigation in cardiovascular medicine as we uncover how and why the heart becomes vulnerable to stress."
Bob Nellis | PNNL
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