London: Researchers have used molecular genetic engineering to optimize heart performance in models of diastolic heart failure by creating an optimized protein that can aid in high-speed relaxation similar to fast twitching muscles.Researchers at the University of Minnesota`s Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology and the Lillehei Heart Institute were behind the breakthrough.Within heart cells, calcium plays a major role in orchestrating normal heart pump function. However, in diastolic failure the calcium signaling process is slowed; calcium levels rise to the peak needed for the squeezing action of the heart but don`t then drop quickly enough for an efficient relaxation period - the condition known as diastolic heart failure.University researchers were able to pinpoint a specific protein, parvalbumin - which aids in high-speed relaxation of fast twitching muscles in nature - and optimize it to become a calcium sponge for heart muscle. As a result, the optimized protein, ParvE101Q, soaks up excess calcium at a precise instant, allowing the heart to relax efficiently after contraction.
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