Vanderbilt scientists have created a new strain of mouse that exhibits cardiac hypertrophy – an enlargement of the heart similar to that which causes heart failure in millions of Americans each year – and may help explain why men are subject to this fatal condition while women are spared until menopause. The new mice were created using genetic engineering techniques that allow researchers to disable specific genes in an animal’s genome. In this case, the mice were created by “knocking out” the gene that expresses a protein named FKBP12.6 that binds to special receptors in heart cells that control the release of calcium ions into the cells’ interior. Regular spikes in calcium concentrations within cardiac muscle cells cause the heart to beat.
The above story is based on materials provided by Vanderbilt University. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.
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