Unfolded protein response contributes to sudden death in heart failure

December 2, 2013, Lifespan

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

Starting periods before age of 12 linked to heightened risk of heart disease and stroke

January 15, 2018
Starting periods early—before the age of 12—is linked to a heightened risk of heart disease and stroke in later life, suggests an analysis of data from the UK Biobank study, published online in the journal Heart.

'Decorated' stem cells could offer targeted heart repair

January 10, 2018
Although cardiac stem cell therapy is a promising treatment for heart attack patients, directing the cells to the site of an injury - and getting them to stay there - remains challenging. In a new pilot study using an animal ...

Exercise is good for the heart, high blood pressure is bad—researchers find out why

January 10, 2018
When the heart is put under stress during exercise, it is considered healthy. Yet stress due to high blood pressure is bad for the heart. Why? And is this always the case? Researchers of the German Centre for Cardiovascular ...

Two simple tests could help to pinpoint cause of stroke

January 10, 2018
Detecting the cause of the deadliest form of stroke could be improved by a simple blood test added alongside a routine brain scan, research suggests.

Heart-muscle patches made with human cells improve heart attack recovery

January 10, 2018
Large, human cardiac-muscle patches created in the lab have been tested, for the first time, on large animals in a heart attack model. This clinically relevant approach showed that the patches significantly improved recovery ...

Place of residence linked to heart failure risk

January 9, 2018
Location. Location. Location.

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.