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Enzyme weakens the heart
Date:2/17/2009

An enzyme makes the mouse heart prone to chronic cardiac insufficiency if it is suppressed, the heart remains strong despite increased stress. Cardiologists at the Internal Medicine Clinic at Heidelberg University Hospital in cooperation with scientists at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center at Dallas and Gttingen University Hospital have now explained this key mechanism in a mouse model and thus discovered a promising approach for the systematic prevention of chronic cardiac insufficiency. The study has now been published online before print in the prestigious journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

Long-term high pressure and stenoses of the valves or aorta make the heart work harder. When it compensates by excessive muscle growth (cardiac hypertrophy), the pump function is affected rhythm disorders or heart failure can be the result. Other risk factors are overweight and age more than 40 percent of people over age 70 suffer from cardiac muscle hypertrophy.

Despite progress in medication, around 95,000 people in Germany die annually from the consequences of chronic cardiac insufficiency. "It is essential to find the molecules that are key to the development of cardiac insufficiency in order to develop new, more efficient treatment" states Dr. Johannes Backs, head of a research group in the Department of Cardiology, Angiology, and Pneumonology (Director Prof. Dr. med. Hugo A. Katus) at Heidelberg University Hospital.

Enzyme activates stress response and hypertrophy of the heart

A key molecule for cardiac hypertrophy brought on by stress is the naturally occurring enzyme CaMKII delta (Calcium/Calmodulin-dependent kinase II delta). Dr. Backs' international research team proved this in genetically modified mice that could no longer produce this enzyme by surgically obstructing the main aorta to put the heart under greater stress and thus simulate permanent high blood pressur
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Contact: Dr. Johannes Backs
johannes.backs@med.uni-heidelberg.de
49-622-156-37714
University Hospital Heidelberg
Source:Eurekalert

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