Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Enzyme prevents fatal heart condition associated with athletes

Date:
May 25, 2011
Source:
University of Manchester
Summary:
Scientists have discovered an important enzyme molecule that may prevent fatal cardiac disorders associated with cardiac hypertrophy -- the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Scientists have discovered an important enzyme molecule that may prevent fatal cardiac disorders associated with cardiac hypertrophy -- the leading cause of sudden cardiac death in young athletes.

Cardiac hypertrophy is a disease of the heart muscle where a portion of the tissue is thickened without any obvious cause. It is commonly linked to high blood pressure (hypertension) and excessive exercises and results in a shrinking of the heart chamber and a reduction of its blood-pumping volume.

The condition is also associated with fatal cardiac disorders related to irregular heart beats (arrhythmias), leading to millions of deaths worldwide each year, and is perhaps the most well-known cause of sudden cardiac arrest in young sports people.

The researchers used laboratory experiments and computer simulations to show that the enzyme MKK4 is involved in preventing arrhythmias. They believe it does this by modifying another protein, connexion, which forms an electrical bridge between adjacent heart cells to ensure the conduction of electrical activity across the heart as an excitation wave, triggering synchronised mechanical contraction of the heart with a regular heartbeat rhythm.

The multidisciplinary team, writing in The Journal of Biological Chemistry, found that loss of the MKK4 protein disrupts the spatial distribution of connexin, resulting in reduced and non-uniform electrical coupling between heart cells.

This causes a fragmented excitation wave in the heart, leading to uncoordinated heart muscle contraction and irregular heart rhythm. As a result, the heart loses its power to pump blood efficiently, causing disability or sudden cardiac death.

"Using experimental measurements together with detailed computer models, we were able to simulate the electrical activity in cardiac tissue with disrupted electrical coupling between adjacent cardiac cells," said Dr Xin Wang, in Manchester's Faculty of Life Science.

"The information generated from this study will help us to identify whether the MKK4 enzyme could become a therapeutic target for the treatment of cardiac arrhythmias in association with cardiac hypertrophy."

Co-author Professor Henggui Zhang, a biophysicist in Manchester's School of Physics and Astronomy, added: "This research means it would be possible to identify the most important factor behind the sudden cardiac death associated with cardiac hypertrophy, which can affect people of any age with hypertension and also healthy well-trained athletes."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by University of Manchester. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. M. Zi, T. E. Kimura, W. Liu, J. Jin, J. Higham, S. Kharche, G. Hao, Y. Shi, W. Shen, S. Prehar, A. Mironov, L. Neyses, M. F. A. Bierhuizen, M. R. Boyett, H. Zhang, M. Lei, E. J. Cartwright, X. Wang. Mitogen-activated protein kinase kinase 4 deficiency in cardiomyocytes causes connexin 43 reduction and couples hypertrophic signals to ventricular arrhythmogenesis. Journal of Biological Chemistry, 2011; DOI: 10.1074/jbc.M111.228791

Cite This Page:

University of Manchester. "Enzyme prevents fatal heart condition associated with athletes." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 25 May 2011. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525083856.htm>.
University of Manchester. (2011, May 25). Enzyme prevents fatal heart condition associated with athletes. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525083856.htm
University of Manchester. "Enzyme prevents fatal heart condition associated with athletes." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2011/05/110525083856.htm (accessed April 21, 2014).

Share This



More Health & Medicine News

Monday, April 21, 2014

Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations


Featured Videos

from AP, Reuters, AFP, and other news services

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

Breakfast Foods Are Getting Pricier

AP (Apr. 21, 2014) Breakfast is now being served with a side of sticker shock. The cost of morning staples like bacon, coffee and orange juice is on the rise because of global supply problems. (April 21) Video provided by AP
Powered by NewsLook.com
Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Nine-Month-Old Baby Can't Open His Mouth

Newsy (Apr. 19, 2014) Nine-month-old Wyatt Scott was born with a rare disorder called congenital trismus, which prevents him from opening his mouth. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

'Holy Grail' Of Weight Loss? New Find Could Be It

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) In a potential breakthrough for future obesity treatments, scientists have used MRI scans to pinpoint brown fat in a living adult for the first time. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com
Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Little Progress Made In Fighting Food Poisoning, CDC Says

Newsy (Apr. 18, 2014) A new report shows rates of two foodborne infections increased in the U.S. in recent years, while salmonella actually dropped 9 percent. Video provided by Newsy
Powered by NewsLook.com

Search ScienceDaily

Number of stories in archives: 140,361

Find with keyword(s):
Enter a keyword or phrase to search ScienceDaily for related topics and research stories.

Save/Print:
Share:

Breaking News:
from the past week

In Other News

... from NewsDaily.com

Science News

Health News

Environment News

Technology News



Save/Print:
Share:

Free Subscriptions


Get the latest science news with ScienceDaily's free email newsletters, updated daily and weekly. Or view hourly updated newsfeeds in your RSS reader:

Get Social & Mobile


Keep up to date with the latest news from ScienceDaily via social networks and mobile apps:

Have Feedback?


Tell us what you think of ScienceDaily -- we welcome both positive and negative comments. Have any problems using the site? Questions?
Mobile: iPhone Android Web
Follow: Facebook Twitter Google+
Subscribe: RSS Feeds Email Newsletters
Latest Headlines Health & Medicine Mind & Brain Space & Time Matter & Energy Computers & Math Plants & Animals Earth & Climate Fossils & Ruins