Manipulating energy levels in the heart to treat coronary heart disease and heart failure

Myocardial energetics in ischaemia and heart failure – exploring translational potential (renewal years 14-18)

Stefan Neubauer (lead researcher)

Oxford, University of

Start date: 01 October 2013 (Duration 5 years)

Every cell in our body needs energy to work. A molecule called creatine helps to store and transfer the energy that heart muscle cells need to contract, and is controlled by an enzyme called creatine kinase. Scientists believe that increasing levels of creatine and/or creatine kinase in heart tissue could be a new way to treat coronary heart disease (CHD) and heart failure – where the damaged heart cannot pump blood round the body effectively. Recent findings suggest that increasing the levels of either creatine or creatine kinase in the hearts of mice protects them from damage and improves recovery following a heart attack.

The British Heart Foundation has awarded a grant to researchers at the University of Oxford to continue this work, to gain a better understanding of how these molecules are controlled in healthy hearts, and identify potential targets for new medicines to increase levels of creatine and creatine kinase in people.

They will also test, in mice, whether increasing creatine protects against other diseases, for example, using models of angina, and if it could protect heart tissue during heart surgery. Finally, they will develop new mouse models of heart disease to see if other, closely related proteins also protect against heart disease. The researchers hope this work will reveal a new way to treat heart disease and reduce the burden caused by conditions like heart failure in the coming decades.

Project details

Grant amount £1,644,163
Grant type Programme Grant
Start Date 01 October 2013
Duration 5 years
Reference RG/13/8/30266
Status In progress

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