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Explaining why so many cases of cardiac arrest strike in the morning
Date:9/8/2013

ith a smaller peak in the late afternoon. Scientists long suspected a link between SCD and the 24-hour body clock, located in the brain. It governs 24-hour cycles of sleep and wakefulness called circadian rhythms that coordinate a range of body functions with the outside environment.

Jain's group discovered a protein called KLF15 that helps regulate the heart's electrical activity, and occurs in the body in levels that change like clockwork throughout the day. KLF15 helps form channels that allow substances to enter and exit heart cells in ways critical to maintaining a normal, steady heartbeat.

They first discovered that patients with heart failure have lower levels of KLF15. Then, they established in laboratory mice that KLF15 is the molecular link between SCD and the circadian rhythm. And mice with low levels of the protein have the same heart problems as people with SCD. "It turns out that people with low KLF15 levels are the ones that are most susceptible to these sudden death episodes that occur in the early morning hours," said Jain. "So, we think that if we could in some way boost KLF15 levels in patients with heart problems, maybe we can reduce the occurrence of these arrhythmias and SCD."

Jain's group is currently studying drugs that boost KLF15 levels. The protein also has effects on other body processes, however. "If we can find out how these compounds are boosting KLF15 levels, then maybe we can make much more targeted and specific therapies for the heart that would prevent SCD, but leave the other KLF15-related processes alone," he explained. Other groups are working on developing genetic tests to identify people who have mutations in the KLF15 gene and would likely be at higher risk of SCD, he noted.


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Contact: Michael Bernstein
m_bernstein@acs.org
317-262-5907 (Indianapolis Press Center, Sept. 6-11)
202-872-6042

Michael Woods
m_woods@acs.org
317-262-5907 (Indianapolis Press Center, Sept. 6-11)
202-872-6293

American Chemical Society
Source:Eurekalert


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