DAVIS--Researchers at the University of California, Davis have discovered that a prototype drug reduces heart enlargement, one of the most common causes of heart failure.
Heart failure, which occurs when the heart can't pump enough blood throughout the body, affects 5 million people in the United States. The condition contributes to 300,000 deaths each year.
The research in the laboratories of cardiologist and cell biologist Nipavan Chiamvimonvat, Department of Cardiovascular Medicine, UC Davis School of Medicine, and entomologist Bruce Hammock, Department of Entomology, showed that the new class of drugs reduces heart swelling in rat models with heart failure.
"This holds promise to treat heart failure and other cardiovascular as well as kidney problems," said nephrology professor Robert Weiss, Department of Internal Medicine.
Similar compounds are now in clinical trials.
Ding Ai of Beijing, senior author of the paper published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, worked as a Ph.D. student in the Chiamvimonvat and Hammock laboratories for a year.
"The study of rat models showed that heart failure is driven by high angiotensin associated with high blood pressure, artery disease and some kidney disease," Hammock said.
"When that occurs, a key enzyme called soluble epoxide hydrolase is increased."
The initial research on the enzyme sprang from studies on insect pest control in the Hammock lab.
"This enzyme," Chiamvimonvat said, "degrades anti-inflammatory and anti-hypertensive factors normally in the heart and blood, which may contribute to the pathological progression of heart failure."
Heart failure weakens the heart's pumping ability, she said. Blood and fluid can back up into the lungs; accumulate in the feet, ankles and legs (edema); and result in tiredness and shortness of breath. Coronary artery disease, high blood pres
|Contact: Kathy Keatley Garvey|
University of California - Davis