OCT 21, 2019 10:32 PM PDT

Therapeutic Targets Inflammation Associated with Genetic Heart Disease

WRITTEN BY: Nouran Amin

Often times when young athletes collapse during the game it is due to sudden cardiac death as a result of the inherited arrhythmogenic cardiomyopathy (ACM). Researchers have sought a new drug that can help reduce some of the ACM disease symptoms and progression to heart failure in affected individuals. The drug is referred to as ‘Bay-11-7082’ and is currently used in laboratory settings for experimental purposes.

Learn more:

"We realized that heart muscle inflammation in ACM is much more complicated than we thought, but also might provide a therapeutic strategy," says Stephen Chelko, Ph.D., assistant professor of medicine at the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

ACM patients carry mutations in any of the five genes that are involved with holding the heart cells together. If an individual is aware that they carry such mutations, they are warned to avoid certain exercises and are placed on particular diets. Although some drugs are prescribed to maintain a slower heart rate, there are currently none that target the underlying defects of ACM.

"We tended in the past to view ACM as something that kills due to a sudden arrhythmic event," said Chelko. "But now we're starting to also see it as a chronic inflammatory disease that can progress more slowly over time, leading to heart failure."

Researchers have examined the molecular origins of heart inflammation in people with ACM. Findings, published in Circulation, shows that inflammation is a result of two separate causes: the high levels of an immune cell known as macrophages, a type of immune cell that's normally found at sites of inflammation and the presence of protein nuclear factor kappa-light-chain-enhancer of activated B cells (NF-κB).

A healthy mouse heart (left), a mouse heart with cardiomyopathy (center) and a mouse heart with cardiomyopathy treated with the NF-κB-blocking drug Bay-11-7082 (right).

Credit: Circulation via HopkinsMedicine.org

"Macrophages are usually the good guys who help heal a wound and then leave," said Chelko. "But in ACM they're permanently setting up shop in the heart, which, over time, reduces its function. We're very excited to have found an FDA-approved drug that can reduce heart inflammation in ACM, and we're eager to do more research to ultimately help those who carry these genetic mutations.”

Story Source: Johns Hopkins Medicine

About the Author
BS/MS
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.
You May Also Like
APR 21, 2022
Drug Discovery & Development
Antidepressants and Anti-epileptics During Pregnancy May Affect Infant Brain Development
APR 21, 2022
Antidepressants and Anti-epileptics During Pregnancy May Affect Infant Brain Development
Fetal exposure to a mother's antiepileptic or antidepressant medication may affect infant brain development. The cor ...
JUN 02, 2022
Cancer
Call to Diversify Clinical Trials
JUN 02, 2022
Call to Diversify Clinical Trials
Clinical Trials represent an integral component of biomedical research.  These research studies utilize human subje ...
JUN 02, 2022
Coronavirus
Loneliness and social isolation may continue to prolong the COVID-19 pandemic
JUN 02, 2022
Loneliness and social isolation may continue to prolong the COVID-19 pandemic
It has been clear for some time that loneliness and social isolation can lead to increased risks for adverse h ...
JUN 06, 2022
Cannabis Sciences
Price and Convenience: Key Reasons Why People Continue to Buy Illegal Cannabis
JUN 06, 2022
Price and Convenience: Key Reasons Why People Continue to Buy Illegal Cannabis
A study published in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found that price and convenience are the two main reaso ...
JUN 09, 2022
Cancer
A Case Study May Identify a Novel Gene Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
JUN 09, 2022
A Case Study May Identify a Novel Gene Therapy for Pancreatic Cancer
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) is a very aggressive pancreatic cancer with limited treatment options.  PDA ...
JUN 15, 2022
Plants & Animals
Using Mosquito Spit to Develop Vaccines for Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue
JUN 15, 2022
Using Mosquito Spit to Develop Vaccines for Zika, Yellow Fever, Dengue
Mosquitoes, specifically, the Aedes mosquito, can carry and transmit deadly virsues like the Zika virus and the viruses ...
Loading Comments...