Washington: In a major medical breakthrough, researchers have identified the main component that is responsible for the onset and progression of heart failure.
The study, conducted by Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, the Cardiovascular Research Center and the University of California, also shows how they successfully blocked the newly discovered culprit to halt the debilitating and chronic life-threatening condition in its tracks.
In the study, investigators identified a tiny piece of RNA called miR-25 that blocks a gene known as SERCA2a, which regulates the flow of calcium in and out of heart-muscle cells.
Decreased SERCA2a activity is one of the main causes of poor contraction of the heart and enlargement of heart-muscle cells leading to heart failure.
Using a functional screening system developed by researchers at Sanford-Burnham, the research team discovered miR-25 acts pathologically in patients suffering from heart failure, delaying proper calcium uptake in heart-muscle cells.
Subsequently, the researchers at the Cardiovascular Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine found that injecting a small piece of RNA to inhibit the effects of miR-25 dramatically halted heart-failure progression in mice. In addition, it also improved their cardiac function and survival.
The study is published in the journal Nature.