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Last Updated: Oct 11, 2012 - 10:22:56 PM
Research Article
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Latest Research : Cardiology : CHF

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T-tubule disruption occurs before decline in heart function detectable

Aug 30, 2010 - 9:46:44 AM , Reviewed by: Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
"Although heart function appears normal during compensated hypertrophy, we found that there already is structural damage," said Long-Sheng Song, M.D.

[RxPG] The disruption of a structural component in heart muscle cells, which is associated with heart failure, appears to occur even before heart function starts to decline, according to a new study by researchers at the University of Iowa Roy J. and Lucille A. Carver College of Medicine.

The structure is a highly organized network of grooves in heart muscle membrane called T-tubules. This network is essential for transmitting electrical signals to the cell's interior where they are translated into contractions that make the heart beat.

It was previously known that T-tubules become very disorganized during heart failure. The new study, published in the Aug. 20 issue of the journal Circulation Research, shows that this disorganization starts well before heart failure occurs during a stage known as compensated hypertrophy, when the heart muscle is enlarged but still able to pump a normal amount of blood around the body.

"Although heart function appears normal during compensated hypertrophy, we found that there already is structural damage," said Long-Sheng Song, M.D., senior author of this paper and UI assistant professor of internal medicine. "Our study suggests that things are going wrong very early in the process, and if we could prevent or slow this damage, we might be able to delay the onset of heart failure."

The researchers used a state-of-the-art imaging technique called laser scanning confocal microscope to visualize these structural changes in an animal model of heart failure. The study compared T-tubule structure and heart function at different stages of heart disease and found that the more disorganized the T-tubule network becomes, the worse the heart functions.

Moreover, the researchers found that T-tubule disorganization was also accompanied by a reduction in levels of a molecule called junctophilin-2, which is thought to be involved in formation of T-tubule networks. In cell experiments, loss of this molecule led to reduced T-tubule integrity.

Although the new findings are not ready to be applied in a clinical setting, understanding how T-tubule disruption occurs may lead to new ways to diagnose or treat heart failure.

Publication: Aug. 20 issue of the journal Circulation Research

Funding information and declaration of competing interests: The study was funded in part by grants from the National Institutes of Health, the American Heart Association and Chinese Scholarship Council. In addition, gifts from the Albaghdadi family of Clinton, Iowa, contributed to the purchase of the laser scanning confocal microscope used in the study.

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 About Dr. Sanjukta Acharya
This news story has been reviewed by Dr. Sanjukta Acharya before its publication on RxPG News website. Dr. Sanjukta Acharya, MBBS MRCP is the chief editor for RxPG News website. She oversees all the medical news submissions and manages the medicine section of the website. She has a special interest in nephrology. She can be reached for corrections and feedback at [email protected]
RxPG News is committed to promotion and implementation of Evidence Based Medical Journalism in all channels of mass media including internet.
 Additional information about the news article
In addition to Song, UI researchers involved in the study included Sheng Wei; Ang Guo; Biyi Chen; William Kutschke; Yu-Ping Xie; Kathy Zimmerman, Robert Weiss; and Mark Anderson. The team also included Heping Cheng from Peking University, Beijing, China.
For any corrections of factual information, to contact the editors or to send any medical news or health news press releases, use feedback form

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