Researchers from the Massachusetts General Hospital (MGH) have shown that it is possible to improve cardiac function in aging rats by delivering extra copies of a key gene to the heart muscle via gene therapy techniques. In the Feb. 22 issue of Circulation the team reports that transferring additional copies of the gene SERCA2a directly into the hearts of aging rats alleviated a typical functional abnormality of aging hearts called diastolic dysfunction, an inability of the heart muscle to relax normally. Previous research in animals and in human heart muscle cells has shown that increasing SERCA2a could improve the function in actual heart failure, but this study is the first to show that altering gene expression could improve the more common heart abnormalities associated with normal aging.
The above story is based on materials provided by Massachusetts General Hospital. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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