12 May 2014
A protein called Erbin could act as a brake in the excessive growth of the heart muscle, which leads to cardiovascular disease, according to research from the Hebrew University of Jerusalem.
This condition is the leading cause of death in the western world. Often, pathological hypertrophy - the growth of the organ to increase its output - precedes the onset of heart failure.
A research team from the university have been able to demonstrate how the protein Erbin can prevent this enlargement and if it is damaged it can lead to severe pathological growth of heart muscle and a decrease in function.
Inbal Rachmin, lead author of the research, detected a significant decrease of the molecule in patients experiencing heart failure. She demonstrated that mice with hypertrophy and lacking the protein died in 100 per cent of instances, compared to 30 per cent for this with Erbin.
Ms Rachmin and her team believe that the protein could have a cardioprotective role and is a potential target for cardiac gene therapy.
Posted by Jeanette Royston
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