A team of researchers has come up with a way to prevent heart failure. Researchers at the Cincinnati Children’s Heart Institute used an experimental targeted molecular therapy to block a matrix-forming protein in heart cells damaged by heart attack, reducing levels of scarred muscle tissue and saving mouse models from heart failure.
The team tested a manufactured peptide called pUR4 to block the fibronectin protein in human heart cells donated by heart failure patients.
The treatment helped human heart cells from failing and also restored their function. It also reduced fibrosis and improved heart function after a simulated heart attack in mice.
“Our data are a strong proof of principle and the first to show that inhibiting fibronectin polymerization preserves heart function, reduces left ventricle remodeling and limits formation of fibrotic connective tissue,” said lead investigator Burns Blaxall.
The researchers emphasised that it was too early to know whether the experimental therapy in this study could one day be used to treat human heart patients clinically. The study appears in the journal Circulation.