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New approach to protect the hearts of patients with muscular dystrophy
Date:5/12/2008

This release is available in French.

Montreal, May 12, 2008 A team of researchers has recently shown that the administration of sildenafil protects the heart in mice with Duchenne muscular dystrophy. This study was led by Dr. Christine Des Rosiers from the Universit de Montral and the Montreal Heart Institute, in collaboration with Dr. Basil Petrof of the Research Institute of the McGill University Health Centre (MUHC) and Dr. Christian Deschepper of the Institut de recherches cliniques de Montral. The study findings are published today in the online edition of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

This achievement was a true team initiative and is the culmination of sustained efforts on the part of Dr. Maya Khairallah, who was a doctoral student at the time, and all of the researchers from participating centres, says Dr. Des Rosiers.

Im pleased that my work has sparked interest in an eventual application for humans, says Dr. Khairallah. The study received financial support from the Canadian Institutes of Health Research, the Fonds de la recherche en sant du Qubec, the Heart and Stroke Foundation of Canada, the Muscular Dystrophy Association and the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute in the U.S.

Improved cardiac function and reduced cell death

The researchers explain that the choice of sildenafil was based on their previous studies indicating that the hearts of dystrophic mice do not function as effectively and are more susceptible to stress-induced cell death. These studies suggested that this may be due to a decrease in the formation of a molecule named cGMP (cyclic guanosine monophosphate).

In the present study, researchers used two different approaches to increase cGMP production in the heart, with the result that the hearts were able to function more effectively and were less susceptible
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Contact: Doris Prince
doris.prince@icm-mhi.org
51-437-633-303-074
University of Montreal
Source:Eurekalert

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