A new signaling pathway appears to play a critical role in the development of heart disease, according to researchers at Stanford University School of Medicine. Now that this marker of cardiac dysfunction, known as the APJ-apelin pathway, has been identified, it could lead to better diagnosis of heart problems, perhaps even allowing doctors to intervene in heart disease by blocking or boosting levels of critical proteins.
"The thing that’s clear is that apelin is increased in heart failure," said Euan Ashley, MD, PhD, a clinical fellow in cardiovascular medicine and one of the lead authors of the study, which is being presented at a Nov. 12 poster session at the annual American Heart Association meeting in Orlando.
"The idea of a blood test to help make a diagnosis of heart disease is very appealing," Ashley said. "But my bigger hope is for therapeutic potential, and given what we know about apelin levels changing a lot during heart failure, either blocking or enhancing this system may provide a treatment for heart failure."
Mitzi Baker | EurekAlert!
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