Research NewsHeart Disease

Signaling Path May Lead to Better Heart-Failure Therapies

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Science  17 Apr 1998:
Vol. 280, Issue 5362, pp. 383
DOI: 10.1126/science.280.5362.383

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Summary

An overstressed heart muscle tries to compensate by growing bigger. But although this strategy works at first, the muscle eventually loses its elasticity; in this state, called congestive heart failure, the heart is inefficient at pumping blood and prone to arrhythmias that cause sudden death. In today's issue of Cell, a research team reports finding an internal signaling pathway in cardiac muscle cells that, when pushed into overdrive, can cause heart failure in mice. What's more, the team showed that the immunosuppressive drug cyclosporin A inhibits this pathway, blocking heart failure in the animals. If the same pathway plays a similar role in human heart failure, it may be possible to halt or even reverse the condition, either with cyclosporin A or other drugs that can inhibit the pathway.