Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Enzyme weakens the heart

19.02.2009
Genetic suppression protects from chronic cardiac insufficiency in animal tests / Heidelberg cardiologists publish findings in “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”

An enzyme makes the mouse heart prone to chronic cardiac insufficiency – if it is suppressed, the heart remains strong despite increased stress.

Cardiologists at the Internal Medicine Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital in cooperation with scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Göttingen University Hospital have now explained this key mechanism in a mouse model and thus discovered a promising approach for the systematic prevention of chronic cardiac insufficiency.

The study has now been published online before print in the prestigious journal “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences”.

Long-term high pressure and stenoses of the valves or aorta make the heart work harder. When it compensates by excessive muscle growth (cardiac hypertrophy), the pump function is affected – rhythm disorders or heart failure can be the result. Other risk factors are overweight and age – more than 40 percent of people over age 70 suffer from cardiac muscle hypertrophy.

Despite progress in medication, around 95,000 people in Germany die annually from the consequences of chronic cardiac insufficiency. “It is essential to find the molecules that are key to the development of cardiac insufficiency in order to develop new, more efficient treatment“ states Dr. Johannes Backs, head of a research group in the Department of Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumonology (Director Prof. Dr. med. Hugo A. Katus) at Heidelberg University Hospital.

Enzyme activates stress response and hypertrophy of the heart

A key molecule for cardiac hypertrophy brought on by stress is the naturally occurring enzyme CaMKII delta (Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II delta). Dr. Backs’ international research team proved this in genetically modified mice that could no longer produce this enzyme by surgically obstructing the main aorta to put the heart under greater stress and thus simulate permanent high blood pressure or valve stenosis in humans. The anticipated enlargement of the heart was very slight – the animals were protected.

“With these mice, we succeeded for the first time in specifically suppressing the CaMKII delta enzyme and clarifying its function in detail,” said Dr. Backs. CaMKII delta has a direct effect on the cells’ stress response. If it is missing, certain information in cell DNA is not accessed that is normally activated by stress, leading to hypertrophy of the heart. “There was still some slight enlargement of the heart, but presumably not enough to cause cardiac insufficiency,” said Dr. Backs. Under normal conditions, the genetically modified mice are inconspicuous – their hearts function and react normally.

The function of CaMKII delta as an intermediate of the heart’s stress response is a possible approach for effective therapy – the Heidelberg researchers anticipate that agents that block only this function of the enzyme would prevent the heart muscle from reacting to overload. Other functions of CaMKII delta should not be affected in order to avoid harmful side effects.

Contact person:

Dr. Johannes Backs
Head of Emmy Noether Research Group
Department of Cardiology at Heidelberg University Hospital
Tel.: +49 (0)6221 / 56 37 714
E-mail: johannes.backs(at)med.uni-heidelberg.de
References:
Backs J, Backs T, Neef S, Kreusser MM, Lehmann LH, Patrick DM, Grueter CE, Qi X, Richardson JA, Hill JA, Katus HA, Bassel-Duby R, Maier LS, Olson EN. The delta isoform of CaM kinase II is required for pathological cardiac hypertrophy and remodeling after pressure overload. Proc Natl Acad Sci USA. 2009 Jan 28. [Epub ahead of print
More information on the internet:
http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/Immunologie.106593.0.html

Heidelberg University Hospital and School of Medicine
Health care, research, and teaching of international reputation
The Heidelberg University Hospital is one of the largest and most prestigious medical centers in Germany; the medical school at Heidelberg University is an internationally renowned biomedical research institute in Europe. Their common goal is to develop new therapies and implement them quickly in patient care. Hospital and medical school employ around 7,000 people and are active in training and qualification. In more than 40 clinics and departments with 1,600 beds, some 500,000 in and outpatients are seen and treated every year. Currently, approx. 1,300 future physicians are studying in Heidelberg; the Heidelberg Curriculum Medicinale (HeiCuMed) is the top medical training program in Germany. (as of 12/2008)

For questions from journalists:

Dr. Annette Tuffs
Press and Public Relations at Heidelberg University Hospital
and Medical School at Heidelberg University
Im Neuenheimer Feld 672
69120 Heidelberg
Tel.: +49 (0)6221 / 56 45 36
Fax: +49 (0)6221 / 56 45 44
E-mail: annette.tuffs(at)med.uni-heidelberg.de

Dr. Annette Tuffs | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.klinikum.uni-heidelberg.de/

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates
20.08.2018 | Technische Universität Dresden

nachricht Climate Impact Research in Hannover: Small Plants against Large Waves
17.08.2018 | Leibniz Universität Hannover

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: It’s All in the Mix: Jülich Researchers are Developing Fast-Charging Solid-State Batteries

There are currently great hopes for solid-state batteries. They contain no liquid parts that could leak or catch fire. For this reason, they do not require cooling and are considered to be much safer, more reliable, and longer lasting than traditional lithium-ion batteries. Jülich scientists have now introduced a new concept that allows currents up to ten times greater during charging and discharging than previously described in the literature. The improvement was achieved by a “clever” choice of materials with a focus on consistently good compatibility. All components were made from phosphate compounds, which are well matched both chemically and mechanically.

The low current is considered one of the biggest hurdles in the development of solid-state batteries. It is the reason why the batteries take a relatively long...

Im Focus: Color effects from transparent 3D-printed nanostructures

New design tool automatically creates nanostructure 3D-print templates for user-given colors
Scientists present work at prestigious SIGGRAPH conference

Most of the objects we see are colored by pigments, but using pigments has disadvantages: such colors can fade, industrial pigments are often toxic, and...

Im Focus: Unraveling the nature of 'whistlers' from space in the lab

A new study sheds light on how ultralow frequency radio waves and plasmas interact

Scientists at the University of California, Los Angeles present new research on a curious cosmic phenomenon known as "whistlers" -- very low frequency packets...

Im Focus: New interactive machine learning tool makes car designs more aerodynamic

Scientists develop first tool to use machine learning methods to compute flow around interactively designable 3D objects. Tool will be presented at this year’s prestigious SIGGRAPH conference.

When engineers or designers want to test the aerodynamic properties of the newly designed shape of a car, airplane, or other object, they would normally model...

Im Focus: Robots as 'pump attendants': TU Graz develops robot-controlled rapid charging system for e-vehicles

Researchers from TU Graz and their industry partners have unveiled a world first: the prototype of a robot-controlled, high-speed combined charging system (CCS) for electric vehicles that enables series charging of cars in various parking positions.

Global demand for electric vehicles is forecast to rise sharply: by 2025, the number of new vehicle registrations is expected to reach 25 million per year....

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

LaserForum 2018 deals with 3D production of components

17.08.2018 | Event News

Within reach of the Universe

08.08.2018 | Event News

A journey through the history of microscopy – new exhibition opens at the MDC

27.07.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

Quantum bugs, meet your new swatter

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

A novel synthetic antibody enables conditional “protein knockdown” in vertebrates

20.08.2018 | Life Sciences

Metamolds: Molding a mold

20.08.2018 | Information Technology

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>