Popular class of drugs reverse potentially harmful genetic changes from heart disease

June 30, 2017, York University
heart
Human heart. Credit: copyright American Heart Association

Beta blockers are commonly used world-wide to treat a variety of cardiovascular conditions, such as arrhythmias and heart failure. Scientists have known for decades that the medications work by slowing the heart rate and reducing the force of contraction - lessening the burden of work carried out by the heart. However, new research out of York University has now shown that these drugs also reverse a number of potentially detrimental genetic changes associated with heart disease.

Using an experimental model of and next generation sequencing to get a snapshot of all of the RNA in the heart cells, the researchers identified the global gene expression changes that occur in heart failure. Then they explored what happened to this pattern of gene expression when beta blocker treatment was implemented, and what they found not only surprised them, but could have important ramifications for future treatments of heart disease.

"We discovered that beta blockers largely reverse the pathological pattern of gene expression observed in heart failure," said Faculty of Science Professor John McDermott, who led the research, along with York U collaborators Professor Gary Sweeney and Professor Jorg Grigull. "This could mean that the reversal or suppression of pathological by is somehow protective against heart failure, but it's something we would need to look into further to understand how individual genes function in the heart."

Interestingly, the study also found that some genes associated with the immune system were dysregulated in heart failure, supporting recent research that has suggested the immune system and inflammation are involved in .

About 600,000 Canadians are living with heart failure, and the disease is expected to rise as more people survive heart attacks and other heart conditions and continue to live longer.

McDermott and his team have identified genes that will be further explored for their potential use in diagnosis and treatment in heart failure.

The study, "Heart Failure and MEF2 Transcriptome Dynamics in Response to B-Blockers," was published today in Nature Scientific Reports.

Explore further: Some heart attack patients may not benefit from beta blockers

More information: S. W. Tobin et al, Heart Failure and MEF2 Transcriptome Dynamics in Response to β-Blockers, Scientific Reports (2017). DOI: 10.1038/s41598-017-04762-x

Related Stories

Some heart attack patients may not benefit from beta blockers

May 29, 2017
New research challenges established medical practice that all heart attack patients should be on beta blockers.

Diabetes may have important effects in patients with acute heart failure

June 26, 2017
Researchers have found that patients with acute heart failure and diabetes, compared with those without diabetes, have distinct markers related to inflammation, cardiovascular function, and kidney health.

Many adults have insufficient knowledge about heart failure

March 22, 2017
In the largest German survey on heart failure to date, investigators found that the overall awareness of heart failure has not increased over the past decade and is not at a satisfactory level.

Beta-blockers promote heart muscle cell survival following a heart attack

September 15, 2015
A commonly prescribed drug for heart disease may do more good than previously thought. Researchers at York University have found that β-blockers may prevent further cell death following a heart attack and that could lead ...

Risk of heart failure up for rheumatoid arthritis patients

March 14, 2017
(HealthDay)—Patients with rheumatoid arthritis (RA) have increased risk of heart failure, according to a study published in the March 14 issue of the Journal of the American College of Cardiology.

Murine model provides insight into mechanisms of reverse cardiac remodeling

April 7, 2016
Sustained pathological remodeling of the heart after injury is associated with increased risk of heart failure and death. Several recent studies have shown that strategies to reduce heart failure are associated with a reversal ...

Recommended for you

Resolvin D-1 limits kidney damage after heart attacks

February 20, 2018
A heart attack triggers an acute inflammatory response at the damaged portion of the heart's left ventricle. If this acute inflammation lingers, it can lead to stretching of the ventricle and heart failure. The inflammation ...

Stroke drug demonstrates safety in clinical trial

February 20, 2018
A preliminary Phase 2 clinical trial has demonstrated that patients with acute ischemic stroke, the most common type of stroke, can safely tolerate high doses of 3K3A-APC, a promising anti-stroke drug invented at The Scripps ...

Women once considered low risk for heart disease show evidence of previous heart attack scars

February 20, 2018
Women who complain about chest pain often are reassured by their doctors that there is no reason to worry because their angiograms show that the women don't have blockages in the major heart arteries, a primary cause of heart ...

Can your cardiac device be hacked?

February 20, 2018
Medical devices, including cardiovascular implantable electronic devices could be at risk for hacking. In a paper publishing online today in the Journal of the American College of Cardiology, the American College of Cardiology's ...

A drug long used to treat gout may help adult heart failure patients

February 20, 2018
Researchers at the University of Cincinnati (UC) College of Medicine have shown that probenecid, a drug long used to treat gout, may be able to improve heart function in adult patients who experience heart failure.

Number of obese years not—just obesity—a distinct risk factor for heart damage

February 20, 2018
In an analysis of clinical data collected on more than 9,000 people, Johns Hopkins researchers have shown that the number of years spent overweight or obese appear to "add up" to a distinct risk factor that makes those with ...

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.