Featured Research

from universities, journals, and other organizations

Gene therapy may aid failing hearts

Date:
March 26, 2013
Source:
University of Washington - Health Sciences
Summary:
In an animal study, researchers show that it was possible to use gene therapy to boost heart muscle function. The finding suggests that it might be possible to use this approach to treat patients whose hearts have been weakened by heart attacks and other heart conditions.

Artist's rendering of human heart.
Credit: unlim3d / Fotolia

In an animal study, researchers at the University of Washington show that it was possible to use gene therapy to boost heart muscle function. The finding suggests that it might be possible to use this approach to treat patients whose hearts have been weakened by heart attacks and other heart conditions.

Led by University of Washington (UW) Professor and Vice Chair of Bioengineering Michael Regnier and Dr. Chuck Murry, director of the Center for Cardiovascular Biology and co-director of the Institute for Stem Cell and Regenerative Medicine at UW, the study appears online today in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences (PNAS).

Normally, muscle contraction is powered by a molecule, the nucleotide called Adenosine-5'-triphosphate (ATP). Other naturally occurring nucleotides can also power muscle contraction, but, in most cases, they have proven to be less effective than ATP.

In an earlier study of isolated muscle, however, Regnier, Murry and colleagues had found that one naturally occurring molecule, called 2 deoxy-ATP (dATP), was actually more effective than ATP in powering muscle contraction, increasing both the speed and force of the contraction, at least over the short-term.

In the new PNAS study, the researchers wanted to see whether this effect could be sustained. To do this, they used genetic engineering to create a strain of mice whose cells produced higher-than-normal levels of an enzyme called Ribonucleotide Reductase, which converts the precursor of ATP, adenosine-5'-diphosphate or ADP, to dADP, which, in turn, is rapidly converted to dATP.

"This fundamental discovery, that dATP can act as a 'super-fuel' for the contractile machinery of the heart, or myofilaments, opens up the possibility to treat a variety of heart failure conditions," Regnier said. "An exciting aspect of this study and our ongoing work is that a relatively small increase in dATP in the heart cells has a big effect on heart performance."

The researchers found that increased production of the enzyme Ribonucleotide Reductase increased the concentration of dATP within heart cells approximately tenfold, and even though this level was still less than one to two percent of the cell's total pool of ATP, the increase led to a sustained improvement in heart muscle function, with the genetically engineered hearts contracting more quickly and with greater force.

"It looks as though we may have stumbled on an important pathway that nature uses to regulate heart contractility," Murry added. "The same pathway that heart cells use to make the building blocks for DNA during embryonic growth makes dATP to supercharge contraction when the adult heart is mechanically stressed."

Importantly, the elevated dATP effect was achieved without imposing additional metabolic demands on the cells, suggesting the modification would not harm the cell's functioning over the long-term.

The finding, the authors write, suggest that treatments that elevate dATP levels in heart cells may prove to be an effective treatment for heart failure.


Story Source:

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


Journal Reference:

  1. Sarah G. Nowakowski, Stephen C. Kolwicz, Frederick Steven Korte, Zhaoxiong Luo, Jacqueline N. Robinson-Hamm, Jennifer L. Page, Frank Brozovich, Robert S. Weiss, Rong Tian, Charles E. Murry, and Michael Regnier. Transgenic overexpression of ribonucleotide reductase improves cardiac performance. PNAS, March 25, 2013 DOI: 10.1073/pnas.1220693110

Cite This Page:

University of Washington - Health Sciences. "Gene therapy may aid failing hearts." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 26 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326101618.htm>.
University of Washington - Health Sciences. (2013, March 26). Gene therapy may aid failing hearts. ScienceDaily. Retrieved April 21, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326101618.htm
University of Washington - Health Sciences. "Gene therapy may aid failing hearts." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130326101618.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