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Molecular 'playbook' for halting heart failure risk factor uncovered
Date:9/23/2010

Like a well-crafted football play designed to block the opposing team's offensive drive to the end zone, the body constantly executes complex 'plays' or sequences of events to initiate, or block, different actions or functions.

Scientists at the University of Rochester Medical Center recently discovered a potential molecular playbook for blocking cardiac hypertrophy, the unwanted enlargement of the heart and a well-known precursor of heart failure. Researchers uncovered a specific molecular chain of events that leads to the inhibition of this widespread risk factor.

The new research, published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, is a concept study in the very early stages of investigation and has yet to be examined in animal models. Nonetheless, it represents a new avenue of exploration for scientists working to find ways to prevent and treat cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.

"While our findings are still in the beginning phases, they are important because heart failure is a major cause of human disease and death, and it remains very hard to treat," said Zheng-Gen Jin, Ph.D., associate professor within the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center and lead author of the study. "One of the main treatments for heart failure, beta blockers, has huge side effects, such as increased fatigue and depression, so scientists need to continue to look for new ways to care for patients with the disease."

The playbook begins with a key protein, histone deacetylase 5, or HDAC5, one of several proteins that influences gene expression the process by which genes are turned on and converted into proteins that carry out the body's functions. The location of HDAC5, in conjunction with other factors, helps determine whether or not gene expression takes place: If HDAC5 is pushed outside the nucleus, genes are turned on and proteins are made, but if it remains inside the nucleus genes are suppressed
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Contact: Emily Boynton
emily_boynton@urmc.rochester.edu
585-273-1757
University of Rochester Medical Center
Source:Eurekalert

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