Protein aids heart function in old age

By  ,  Onlymyhealth editorial team
Jun 22, 2015

A new research has found that a certain type of protein can help in the sustenance of cardiac muscle cells as one grows old. The human heart tends to make a few new cells, but can generate billions of life-sustaining beats as one gets older. It is a resilient organ that does not regenerate and loses its ability to pump with age.
The research which was done at Johns Hopkins University’s School of Medicine, found that the vinculin protein can pave way to treatments that increase the live span of those patients who are afflicted by heart failure.

Heart contraction in old age

Presence of the protein in organisms of different physiologic complexity has been a sure sign of its conservation among species as well as its evolutionary importance. In the first set of experiments, the researchers had taken a look at levels of the protein in the heart muscle of adult as well as ageing fruit flies, monkeys and rats.

The protein was seen to be rising steadily in all three as they aged and the researchers analysed biopsies from rat hearts. The hearts of ageing rats showed a clustering of the protein in the cell junctions. Such a pattern allows the protein to boost transmission of mechanical force from cell to cell and thereby, enhance the overall contraction of heart.

The study had appeared in the journal of Science Translational Medicine.

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