A coordinated response to cardiac stress

March 1, 2013

Myocardial hypertrophy, a thickening of the heart muscle, is an adaptation that occurs with increased stress on the heart, such as high blood pressure. As the heart muscle expands, it also requires greater blood flow to maintain access to oxygen and nutrients, necessitating an expansion of the cardiac vasculature.

In this issue of the , Daniela Tirziu and researchers at Yale University identified a molecular mechanism by which the growth of new blood vessels (angiogenesis) and growth are coordinated.

Using a mouse model of myocardial hypertrophy, Tirziu and colleagues determined that nitric oxide triggers the destruction of a protein known as RGS4.

Nitric oxide typically drives physiological changes associated with the relaxation of blood vessels, while RGS4 attenuates the activity of a cellular signaling pathway that promotes cardiac growth.

These findings reveal how increases in heart muscle and are coordinated, linking changes in vasculature to changes in heart size.

Explore further: Molecular imaging detects ischemic heart disease in diabetics

More information: NO triggers RGS4 degradation to coordinate angiogenesis and cardiomyocyte growth, doi:10.1172/JCI65112

Related Stories

Hormone reduces risk of heart failure from chemotherapy

August 4, 2011

Recent studies have shown that the heart contains cardiac stem cells that can contribute to regeneration and healing during disease and aging. However, little is known about the molecules and pathways that regulate these ...

Recommended for you

What powers the pumping heart?

September 25, 2015

Researchers at the Ted Rogers Centre for Heart Research have uncovered a treasure trove of proteins, which hold answers about how our heart pumps—a phenomenon known as contractility.

Sticky gel helps stem cells heal rat hearts

September 24, 2015

A sticky, protein-rich gel created by Johns Hopkins researchers appears to help stem cells stay on or in rat hearts and restore their metabolism after transplantation, improving cardiac function after simulated heart attacks, ...


Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.