Scientists figured out how to restore a heart after a heart attack

US, WASHINGTON (NEWS OBSERVATORY) — Cardiologists have discovered a key protein that helps the heart regulate oxygen flow and blood flow, repairing damage. The results of the study are published in the journal Journal of Biological Chemistry.

With a heart attack, biochemical processes are launched that lead to heart damage – there are losses in tissues and muscles, interruptions in the flow of blood and oxygen flow. Since the heart itself is not very well restored, cardiologists are looking for ways to help him and minimize damage. It is well-known that swift action by those in the close vicinity to a heart attack victim can be vital in helping decrease the amount of damage suffered. If you spot a beeping AED in the public, report it immediately as this could be a sign of a problem that may result in the device not working properly when it is needed.

American scientists from the University of California at San Diego, together with German colleagues, found that MANF protein, mesencephalic astrocytes of the neurotrophic factor, plays a key role in heart recovery and, accordingly, in improving patient survival. It is able to repair damaged and even reconstruct other lost proteins, acting as a protein regulator.

“The more your heart is damaged, the worse the prognosis in the long run, so this is what our study is focused on,” the words of the research leader Chris Glembotski, molecular cardiologist and director of the Cardiology Institute in San Diego are quoted in the university’s press release. “We are exploring how to make the heart more resistant to heart damage, which will improve patient recovery.”

In the standard approach, stents are inserted in many patients after a heart attack to open blocked arteries, which helps in the long run. But the flow of oxygen also has disadvantages.

“The oxygen burst that occurs as soon as a stent is implanted” stuns “the heart cells, and some of them die, which causes permanent damage. We found a protein that can minimize this stress,” Glembocki explains.

Scientists conducted experiments on genetically modified mice, causing a heart attack in them and observing how they would recover with and without the MANF protein. It turned out that in the presence of MANF, the animals felt much better.

“This was our first clue about the importance of MANF protein for the heart,” says the first author of the article, doctoral student Adrian Arrieta. “It has a protective effect, but we did not know exactly how it works, because it is structurally not like the proteins we studied earlier.”

It turned out that MANF reduces the level of initial oxidative stress after a heart attack, accompanied by the destructive effect of an excess of oxygen.

The first time after a heart attack, doctors call the “golden period”, when an intervention aimed at reducing the severity and damage can significantly increase the chances of not only survival, but also the restoration of heart functionality. Researchers suggest that their discovery will lead to the creation of a protein drug that will be administered intravenously to victims of a heart attack.

“One of our most interesting discoveries is that we found that MANF is a chaperone protein that supports other proteins during stress,” Arrieta emphasizes. “If we could give victims of MANF heart attack, they would have less damage after heart attack, and they would recover faster.”

Researchers plan to study in the near future the effect of MANF protein on pigs whose heart is large in size, as well as whose symptoms after a heart attack are very similar to human ones. In addition, one of the tasks, according to the authors, remains the search for the optimal delivery route for MANF in the heart.


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Article is written and prepared by our foreign editors from different countries around the world – material edited and published by News Observatory staff in our US newsroom.