University of Glasgow LogoCongestive heart failure (CHF) is one of the major causes of concern worldwide and is often linked to smoking and obesity too. A research conducted by University of Glasgow scientists has uncovered a new avenue of possibly inverting the effects of congestive heart failure.

The team has come across an enzyme PI-3 kinase that could be directed with drugs to treat heart failure. The researchers used a recent technique to introduce a method of regulating the enzyme which is also known to play a principal role in CHF.

Dr Baillie head of the research commented, “When we exercise, the increase in oxygen required by our muscles is facilitated by increased blood blow that results from an increased heart rate. Heart rate is controlled by the stress hormone adrenaline which binds to receptors on the surface of the heart cells, making the heart beat faster and stronger. However, failing hearts can’t contract properly so they won’t pump enough blood through your body to keep you fit and well.”

Over expression of the enzyme PI-3 kinase seemingly leads to the decrease in the amount of receptors in the heart. It is due to this that the contraction of failing hearts is not adequate. As a part of the research, the expression of PI-3 kinase was inhibited in mice. It appeared that adrenalin receptors sustained a normal level thus allowing normal heart function. This knowledge may lead to treatments for the condition by developing new therapies and drugs.

According to the scientists, drugs targeting this enzyme are there in the market but have not been used to treat this condition. Hence this discovery could lead to development of new and existing drugs in the next 5 or 10 years. The project utilized the peptide array technology that helps to observe the molecular nature of protein-protein interactivity.

Cell communication can be clearly understood by the interaction of proteins. When cells encounter stress they signal to adjacent cells, so that a coordinated and timely response is possible. Scientists believe that peptides have the potential to inhibit binding of proteins and thus help in prohibiting the disease. The technology allows researchers to map out the binding areas of protein to locate peptides.

The research is the cover story in the latest edition of the journal Molecular Cell.