New York: There could soon be an effective treatment for heart failure and its prevention.
Researchers have discovered a molecule that provides the heart with a tool to block a key protein that leads to heart failure.
Named "Myheart", the newly discovered non-coding RNA helps the heart to block BRG1, a protein that orchestrates genetic disruptions when the heart is subjected to stress, such as high blood pressure, the findings showed.
"I think of Myheart (myosin heavy-chain-associated RNA transcript) as a molecular crowbar that pries BRG1 off the genomic DNA and prevents it from manipulating genetic activity," said Ching-Pin Chang, an associate professor of medicine at the Indiana University School of Medicine in the US.
When the adult heart is subjected to significant stress such as high blood pressure or damage from a heart attack, the protein BRG1 begins altering the heart's genetic activity, leading to heart failure.
In mice with stress-induced high levels of BRG1, the researcher were able to restore Myheart to normal levels using gene transfer technology.
Restoring Myheart levels blocked BRG1 actions and prevented heart failure, they said.
Although the results in mice would suggest testing Myheart against heart failure in humans, it is too large -- by molecular standards -- to be delivered as a drug, Chang said.
The researchers now are working to identify smaller portions of the Myheart molecule that are key to its ability to block BRG1.
Such a subsection of the Myheart molecule could lead to a compound to test in human trials.
The study appeared online in the journal Nature.