Nov. 16, 2010 A Nova Southeastern University (NSU) researcher has discovered how to use gene therapy to block a protein that can contribute to heart failure. The finding will appear in an upcoming issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.
Anastasios Lymperopoulos, Ph.D., an NSU College of Pharmacy assistant professor of pharmacology, has discovered a novel method, using gene therapy, to block the actions of a gene-encoded protein known as beta-arrestin 1, which causes an increase of aldosterone production from the body's adrenal glands into the blood. Aldosterone is a hormone. It increases the reabsorption of sodium and water into the kidneys, causing high blood volume and blood pressure. It also has several direct damaging effects on the heart, such as fibrosis, hypertrophy, and inflammation.
An increase in blood volume causes high blood pressure. This in turn decreases the pumping action of the heart, and is one of the causes of heart failure.
By finding a way to block beta-arrestin 1 through this gene therapy approach, Prof. Lymperopoulos hopes it will lead to the reduction of the severity of heart failure. He is now testing new and existing heart failure medications such as Cozaar, Diovan and Atacand, to see how effective they are at blocking this damaging effect of beta-arrestin on the heart.
Lymperopoulos receives funding from the American Heart Association through a Scientist Development Grant for his research at NSU.
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