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Mini 'stress tests' could help condition heart to survive major attack
Date:1/6/2008

ioninga series of short periods of blood flow blockageto simulate what happens in humans with serious heart disease.

Butler found that these mini stress tests activated the dormant JAK-STAT pathway, and helped protect the muscle from injury when blood flowed back into the heart.

The concept is similar to how we approach a new physical fitness regimen: incremental steps. You wouldnt try to condition yourself for a marathon by running 10 miles on your first day of training. Youd prepare yourself incrementally, explains Butler, an associate professor of surgery at UC and corresponding author of the study.

The body appears to be doing the same thing when it comes to the heart. Patients often endure short periods of reduced blood flow before the blockage causes irreversible cardiac damage, she adds. When the JAK-STAT pathway is activated, however, it appears to have a protective effect and may help the heart recover.

By revealing the underlying molecular mechanisms, Butler says, scientists may be able to develop drugs designed to selectively harness the protective benefits of the JAK-STAT pathway and help patients avoid debilitating heart injuries.

Butlers next step is to compare the effects of the JAK-STAT pathway in normal hearts with diseased hearts similar to those of patients at higher risk for heart attack.


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Contact: Amanda Harper
amanda.harper@uc.edu
513-558-4657
University of Cincinnati
Source:Eurekalert  

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