DEC 23, 2018 11:22 PM PST

Type 2 Diabetes Drug May Treat Heart Failure Syndrome

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

A drug used in the treatment of Type 2 Diabetes, by the name of Metformin, may soon be used to treat heart failure syndrome with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF), a diagnosis that by year 2020 is predicted to affect 8% of people 65 or older. The study was carried out by the University of Arizona and shows that metformin was observed to relax a key protein present in the cardiac muscle known as titin—a protein that holds a significant role in allowing the heart to fill with blood prior to pumping it around the body.

Learn more about the anatomy of the human heart:

The condition of HFpEF involves the stiffness of the left ventricle which reduces the blood supply to the body despite proper contraction. HFpEF occurs in about half of all heart failure patients and is more common in women with risk factors including old age, hypertension, and obesity. As of now, no drugs are currently available for the treatment of HFpEF.

However, results of the study published in the Journal of General Physiology, concludes that metformin may soon be an effective therapeutic for HFpEF because it increases the left ventricular dilation and reduces the rate of heart failure in diabetic patients. The observations were seen in model mice with HFpEF-like symptoms that were given the drug. Metformin acts on titin to ultimately relax the left ventricle. Naturally, titin allows the cardiac muscle to recoil after stretching. Specifically, the drug adds phosphate groups on the titin causing it to become more complaint and allowing the heart muscle as whole to do the same.

Metformin is currently used for the management of Type 2 Diabetes. Now, research is suggesting it is a possible therapeutic for heart failure syndrome with preserved ejection fraction (HFpEF).


"We therefore conclude that metformin is a potential therapy for patients with HFpEF," says Henk L. Granzier at the Sarver Heart Center of the University of Arizona. "Because the drug is already approved and well tolerated in humans, using it to target titin stiffness presents a unique opportunity for immediate translation to the clinic."

Source: Journal of General Physiology, Science Daily

About the Author
Doctorate (PhD)
Nouran is a scientist, educator, and life-long learner with a passion for making science more communicable. When not busy in the lab isolating blood macrophages, she enjoys writing on various STEM topics.
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