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Gene therapy may aid failing hearts
Date:3/26/2013

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.


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Contact: Clare LaFond
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University of Washington - Health Sciences/UW News, Community Relations & Marketing
Source:Eurekalert

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