Unfolded protein response contributes to sudden death in heart failure

December 2, 2013

A researcher at the Cardiovascular Institute (CVI) at Rhode Island, The Miriam and Newport hospitals has found a link to human heart failure that if blocked, may reduce the risk of sudden cardiac death. The paper, written by Samuel C. Dudley, M.D., Ph.D., chief of cardiology at the CVI, is published in the journal Circulation: Arrhythmia and Electrophysiology.

Sudden (SCD) is an unexpected death caused by loss of , or . It is the most common cause of natural death in the U.S., resulting in approximately 325,000 adult deaths in the U.S. each year.

The study found that the unfolded protein response (UPR), a condition usually associated with viral infections, diabetes and obesity, is activated in human failure and can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death. The UPR Is a cell defense system designed to shut down protein synthesis and respond when the cell makes defective or foreign proteins. This prevents cell death as a result of accumulation of a large number of defective or unwanted proteins. Previously, it was unknown that the UPR is also active in heart failure and may explain the loss of many useful proteins in this condition.

"Half of all patients who suffer from abnormal heart beats will die from ," said Dudley, the study's principal investigator. "While we still don't know exactly what causes this electrical instability in the heart, we do know that it leads to abnormal heart beats and can increase the risk of sudden cardiac death."

Dudley continued, "This is the first time that the unfolded protein response has been implicated in sudden cardiac death. Therefore, if we can find a way to block the response, we are one step closer to finding a treatment to significantly reduce the risk of ."

Sudden cardiac arrest, which can lead to SCD, is often confused with heart attack. Heart attacks occur when there is a blockage in one or more of the arteries to the heart, preventing the heart from receiving blood. Whereas sudden cardiac arrest occurs when the electrical system to the heart malfunctions and the heart beat suddenly becomes very irregular, and very fast, preventing blood from flowing to the brain and elsewhere in the body. This often results in a loss of consciousness, and eventually death if not treated quickly.

Explore further: Estrogen levels tied to risk for sudden cardiac death in study

Related Stories

Estrogen levels tied to risk for sudden cardiac death in study

May 11, 2013
(HealthDay)—Higher levels of the hormone estrogen are associated with an increased risk of sudden cardiac death in men and women, a new study suggests.

Many sudden cardiac arrests preceded by warning signs

November 19, 2013
Sudden cardiac arrest isn't always so sudden, according to research presented at the American Heart Association's Scientific Sessions 2013.

New research takes aim at heart's 'safe zone'

October 28, 2013
Sudden cardiac arrest is the leading cause of death in the industrialized world. However, it's not well understood and is challenging to both predict and effectively prevent, according to Alain Karma, Arts and Sciences Distinguished ...

Study: Majority of patients who qualify for lifesaving heart treatment do not receive it

September 24, 2013
A new study of patients who died of sudden cardiac arrest, a usually fatal condition that causes the heart to stop beating, shows the majority who qualified to receive potentially lifesaving treatment did not receive it.

Even moderate smoking associated with sudden death risk in women

December 11, 2012
Women who are even light-to-moderate cigarette smokers may be significantly more likely than nonsmokers to suffer sudden cardiac death, according to new research in Circulation: Arrhythmia & Electrophysiology, an American ...

Recommended for you

Five vascular diseases linked to one common genetic variant

July 27, 2017
Genome-wide association studies have implicated a common genetic variant in chromosome 6p24 in coronary artery disease, as well as four other vascular diseases: migraine headache, cervical artery dissection, fibromuscular ...

Could aggressive blood pressure treatments lead to kidney damage?

July 18, 2017
Aggressive combination treatments for high blood pressure that are intended to protect the kidneys may actually be damaging the organs, new research from the University of Virginia School of Medicine suggests.

Quantifying effectiveness of treatment for irregular heartbeat

July 17, 2017
In a small proof-of-concept study, researchers at Johns Hopkins report a complex mathematical method to measure electrical communications within the heart can successfully predict the effectiveness of catheter ablation, the ...

Concerns over side effects of statins stopping stroke survivors taking medication

July 17, 2017
Negative media coverage of the side effects associated with taking statins, and patients' own experiences of taking the drugs, are among the reasons cited by stroke survivors and their carers for stopping taking potentially ...

Study discovers anticoagulant drugs are being prescribed against safety advice

July 17, 2017
A study by researchers at the University of Birmingham has shown that GPs are prescribing anticoagulants to patients with an irregular heartbeat against official safety advice.

Protein may protect against heart attack

July 14, 2017
DDK3 could be used as a new therapy to stop the build-up of fatty material inside the arteries

0 comments

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.