One of the most important categories of drugs for slowing the development of heart failure are the beta-blockers, which prevent adrenaline from affecting the heart cells by targeting the beta receptors. The new finding increases understanding of what happens to the two receptors in heart failure and could lead to the design of improved beta-blockers. It may eventually help resolve an existing debate about whether it is better to block the beta2AR receptors as well as the beta1AR.
Dr Julia Gorelik, corresponding author of the study from the National Heart and Lung Institute at Imperial College London, said: "Our new technique means we can get a real insight into how individual cells are disrupted by heart failure. Using our new nanoscale live-cell microscopy we can scan the surface of heart muscle cells to much greater accuracy than has been possible before and to see tiny structures that affect how the cells function.
"Through understanding what's happening on this tiny scale, we can ultimately build up a really detailed picture of what's happening to the heart during heart failure and long term, this should help us to tackle the disease. The main question for our future research will be to understand whether drugs can prevent the beta2-AR from moving in the cell and how this might help us to fight heart failure," added Dr Gorelik.
For the study, the researchers looked at single living cardiac muscle cells in a culture dish, taken from healthy or failing rat hearts. They stimulated the beta1AR and beta2AR receptors using drugs applied via nanopipette inside th
|Contact: Laura Gallagher|
Imperial College London