Two microRNAs play a key role in Cardiac hypertrophy

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Respiratory distress, fatigue, and attenuated performance are symptoms that can accompany heart failure. Germany-wide approximately 1.8 million people suffer from this disease. A reason for this can be an enlarged heart, a so-called cardiac hypertrophy. It may develop when the heart is subjected to permanent stress, for example, due to persistent high blood pressure or a valvular heart defect. In order to boost the pumping performance, the heart muscle cells enlarge—a condition that frequently results in heart failure if not treated.

The scientists at the Göttingen Max Planck Institute for Biophysical Chemistry and the Hannover Medical School discovered that two small RNA molecules play a key role in the growth of heart muscle cells: the microRNAs miR-212 and miR-132. They had observed that these microRNAs are more prevalent in the cardiac muscle cells of mice suffering from cardiac hypertrophy.

The hearts of the mice that possess more of the microRNAs 212 and
132 (on the right) are distinctly larger than the hearts of the normalmice (on the left). Credit: Kamal Chowdhury / MPI for Biophysical

When they inhibited one of those two specific molecules, they were able to protect the rodent against pathological heart growth and failure. With these findings, the scientists hope to be able to develop therapeutic approaches that can protect humans against heart failure.

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Max Planck Institute





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