Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Scientists identify novel way to prevent cardiac fibrosis

24.04.2008
In a study that points to a new strategy for preventing or possibly reversing fibrosis – the scarring that can lead to organ and tissue damage – researchers at the University of California, San Diego School of Medicine have determined that a molecule called Epac (Exchange protein activated by cAMP1), plays a key role in integrating the body’s pro- and anti-fibrotic response.

The research will be published in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Science (PNAS) the week of April 21.

Inflammation is the body’s response to injury in tissues, prompting healing that leads to scars, whether on the skin, or in organs such as the heart, liver or lungs. Such scarring has beneficial properties, but there’s also the risk of excessive scarring, or tissue fibrosis, that can lead to organ damage and loss of function.

The UC San Diego researchers looked at cardiac fibrosis, which can occur in patients who have suffered an infection of the heart muscle or a heart attack. Such fibrosis causes the heart to stiffen so that it cannot adequately fill with blood and then empty itself, a condition known as diastolic dysfunction.

“An old heart is a stiff heart and some injured hearts are stiff as well,” said Paul A. Insel, M.D., UCSD professor of pharmacology and medicine, and principal investigator of the study. “Much of the decrease in cardiovascular function that occurs with aging or, in some patients after a heart attack, can be explained by fibrosis. We wondered: What is responsible for excessive fibrosis" Is there a way to decrease or possibly reverse it"”

It was previously known that a messenger molecule inside of cells, called cAMP, can block fibrosis in the heart. Insel and colleagues explored the mechanism leading to the anti-fibrotic effect, and discovered that the Epac molecule mediates cAMP actions that are involved in cardiac fibrosis. Epac also helps regulate other proteins that contribute to cell death, division, migration and motility.

“We found that Epac activation exerts a very important impact on the function of fibroblasts, the cells responsible for making and secreting collagen and thus for producing tissue fibrosis,” said Insel. “Most exciting was our discovery that multiple agents that promote fibrosis decrease the expression and activation of Epac in fibroblasts from several different tissues – not only in the heart but also in lung, liver and skin.”

The researchers found decreased Epac expression in regions near the site of heart attacks in rats and mice. In addition, they found that by increasing Epac expression, they were able to block the ability of agents to promote fibrosis.

Because increases in cAMP levels can decrease the function of fibroblasts after cell injury, stimulation of the cAMP signaling pathway is a potential way to blunt fibrosis. Increases in Epac expression may provide a novel way to do this, especially in cardiac fibroblasts, Insel added. To test this possibility, the scientists treated fibroblast cells in culture in ways that altered Epac expression, increasing Epac expression using an adenoviral construct.

“Using this strategy to overexpress Epac, we produced an anti-fibrotic effect, thereby inhibiting the synthesis of collagen” said Insel. “Other experiments showed that decreasing Epac expression favored fibrosis; in other words, were pro-fibrotic. Overall, the results show the central role of Epac in determining pro-fibrotic and anti-fibrotic response.”

Debra Kain | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.ucsd.edu

More articles from Health and Medicine:

nachricht New flexible, transparent, wearable biopatch, improves cellular observation, drug delivery
12.11.2018 | Purdue University

nachricht Exosomes 'swarm' to protect against bacteria inhaled through the nose
12.11.2018 | Massachusetts Eye and Ear Infirmary

All articles from Health and Medicine >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: A Leap Into Quantum Technology

Faster and secure data communication: This is the goal of a new joint project involving physicists from the University of Würzburg. The German Federal Ministry of Education and Research funds the project with 14.8 million euro.

In our digital world data security and secure communication are becoming more and more important. Quantum communication is a promising approach to achieve...

Im Focus: Research icebreaker Polarstern begins the Antarctic season

What does it look like below the ice shelf of the calved massive iceberg A68?

On Saturday, 10 November 2018, the research icebreaker Polarstern will leave its homeport of Bremerhaven, bound for Cape Town, South Africa.

Im Focus: Penn engineers develop ultrathin, ultralight 'nanocardboard'

When choosing materials to make something, trade-offs need to be made between a host of properties, such as thickness, stiffness and weight. Depending on the application in question, finding just the right balance is the difference between success and failure

Now, a team of Penn Engineers has demonstrated a new material they call "nanocardboard," an ultrathin equivalent of corrugated paper cardboard. A square...

Im Focus: Coping with errors in the quantum age

Physicists at ETH Zurich demonstrate how errors that occur during the manipulation of quantum system can be monitored and corrected on the fly

The field of quantum computation has seen tremendous progress in recent years. Bit by bit, quantum devices start to challenge conventional computers, at least...

Im Focus: Nanorobots propel through the eye

Scientists developed specially coated nanometer-sized vehicles that can be actively moved through dense tissue like the vitreous of the eye. So far, the transport of nano-vehicles has only been demonstrated in model systems or biological fluids, but not in real tissue. The work was published in the journal Science Advances and constitutes one step further towards nanorobots becoming minimally-invasive tools for precisely delivering medicine to where it is needed.

Researchers of the “Micro, Nano and Molecular Systems” Lab at the Max Planck Institute for Intelligent Systems in Stuttgart, together with an international...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

VideoLinks
Industry & Economy
Event News

“3rd Conference on Laser Polishing – LaP 2018” Attracts International Experts and Users

09.11.2018 | Event News

On the brain’s ability to find the right direction

06.11.2018 | Event News

European Space Talks: Weltraumschrott – eine Gefahr für die Gesellschaft?

23.10.2018 | Event News

 
Latest News

In focus: Peptides, the “little brothers and sisters” of proteins

12.11.2018 | Life Sciences

Materials scientist creates fabric alternative to batteries for wearable devices

12.11.2018 | Materials Sciences

A two-atom quantum duet

12.11.2018 | Physics and Astronomy

VideoLinks
Science & Research
Overview of more VideoLinks >>>