Understanding how heart cells die in heart failure
Regulation of cardiac apoptosis and heart failure by the type 2A protein phosphatase regulatory protein alpha4
Andrew Snabaitis (lead researcher)
Kingston, University of
Start date: (Duration 3 years)
Heart failure is a devastating condition that affects over half a million people in the UK, and there is currently no cure. It usually happens after a heart attack, when a section of heart tissue dies and no longer works properly. Scientists are working to understand how and why heart cells die. We know that a type of cell death called apoptosis is important and Dr Andrew Snabaitis has recently discovered that removing a protein known as alpha4 from heart cells can cause them to die from apoptosis.
The BHF has now awarded his team a grant to study apoptosis in more detail using mice and rats. They will study how increasing alpha4 protein in heart cells protects against apoptosis caused by biological chemicals. They will also remove alpha4 protein from mouse hearts using a genetic modification, before studying these hearts when they are deprived of oxygen and glucose, a model for when the heart is starved of blood during a heart attack. The team will also study how these hearts respond to a model of long-term high blood pressure. This research will reveal more about the role of alpha4 protein in apoptotic cell death in the damaged heart and how this is involved in the progression to heart failure.
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