A heart attack or heart problems including high blood pressure, often lead to an overgrowth of tissue in the heart, which then often leads to more heart problems.
Two small RNA molecules, called microRNAs specifically miR-212 and miR-132, have a key role in this pernicious growth in mice, as has now discovered a research team at the Hannover Medical School and the Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry in Göttingen, both institutions in Germany.
When these scientists inhibited one of these two specific molecules, were able to protect against rodent pathologic cardiac growth and subsequent heart failure.
With this discovery, scientists hope to be able to develop therapeutic approaches that can protect humans against various forms of heart failure.
Heart failure is a widespread health problem. In Germany alone, there are about 1.8 million people affected.
One cause of heart failure may be the heart tissue overgrowth. This may occur when the heart is permanently subjected to excessive load stress, for example due to chronic hypertension or valvular heart defect. In order to increase the pumping efficiency, the cardiac muscle tissue is enlarged, but this also causes problems, which can lead to heart failure.
The team of Kamal Chowdhury, Thomas Thum, Ahmet Ucar and Shashi K. Gupta, has conducted several experiments that confirm the role of miR-212 and miR-132.
In one of the most promising experiments, scientists were able to protect mice against the disease. When gave a substance which selectively inhibits the microRNA-132, there was no pathologic cardiac growth, even when the hearts of these mice were subjected to stress.
All indications, therefore, these scientists have a molecular approach for the treatment of pathologic cardiac growth and of heart failure in mice as adventure Dr. Thum. Now he and his colleagues hope to be able to develop specific treatments that may prevent the pathological growth of tissue in the human heart.