Blocking microRNA miR-25 halts progression of heart failure, improves cardiac function
PostedMarch 14, 2014
A team of cardiovascular researchers from Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute (Sanford-Burnham), the Cardiovascular Research Center at Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai, and the University of California, San Diego have identified a small but powerful new player in the onset and progression of heart failure. Their findings, published in the journal Nature on March 12, also show 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.