Vitamin D may help prevent heart failure after heart attack

March 8, 2018, Westmead Institute for Medical Research
Lead researcher Associate Professor James Chong. Credit: Westmead Institute

New research has shown how vitamin D may help protect heart tissue and prevent heart failure after a heart attack, potentially offering a low-cost addition to existing treatments for heart failure.

The team at the Westmead Institute for Medical Research found that D prevents excessive scarring and thickening of following a , which may help reduce the risk of .

Researchers used mouse models to investigate the impact of 1,25D, a form of vitamin D that interacts with hormones, on the cells that form scar tissue after a heart attack. These cells are called cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts (cCFU-Fs).

Lead researcher Associate Professor James Chong said that vitamin D was known to help protect against heart failure, but its interaction with cCFU-Fs was not well established.

"The benefits of vitamin D are becoming increasingly known, but we still don't fully understand how mechanistically it can help with heart disease management. We wanted to know more about how vitamin D protects the heart after a heart attack," Associate Professor Chong explained.

Heart attacks occur when blood supply to the heart is blocked, leading to tissue damage. This triggers an inflammatory response where the cCFU-Fs replace the damaged tissue with collagen-based scar tissue.

"This is a problem because scarring of heart tissue can reduce the heart's ability to pump blood effectively, which can lead to heart failure," Associate Professor Chong said.

"Our research shows that vitamin D actually blocks the cCFU-Fs from forming . By blocking cCFU-Fs, vitamin D may play an important role in lowering the risk of heart failure after a heart attack."

Heart failure is a life-threatening condition affecting an estimated 23 million people worldwide. Associate Professor Chong said that new treatments are necessary to reduce the global burden of heart failure.

"Cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and heart , are the leading cause of death worldwide," Associate Professor Chong said.

"To change this, we need to research conditions from every possible angle. This study is the first to demonstrate the role of 1,25D in regulating cardiac progenitor cells, and the findings are encouraging.

"With further study, vitamin D could prove to be an exciting, low-cost addition to current treatments, and we hope to progress these finding into clinical trials for humans," Associate Professor Chong concluded.

Explore further: Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased heart failure risk in older adults

More information: Thi Y.L. Le et al, Vitamin D Improves Cardiac Function After Myocardial Infarction Through Modulation of Resident Cardiac Progenitor Cells, Heart, Lung and Circulation (2018). DOI: 10.1016/j.hlc.2018.01.006

Related Stories

Vitamin D deficiency linked to increased heart failure risk in older adults

August 18, 2017
A recent study found an elevated risk of heart failure in more than half of older individuals, and this risk was significantly associated with vitamin D deficiency. Specifically, vitamin D deficiency was linked with a 12.2-times ...

Taking vitamin E does not impact women's heart failure risk

March 20, 2012
Taking vitamin E supplements does not increase or decrease heart failure risk among women, according to a study in Circulation: Heart Failure, an American Heart Association journal.

Heart failure therapy hope as drug blocks deadly muscle scarring

October 24, 2017
A potential treatment to prevent deadly muscle scarring that contributes to chronic heart failure has been uncovered by scientists.

Linking heart attack damage to the spleen and kidney, an integrated study of heart failure

November 15, 2017
Heart failure after a heart attack is a global epidemic leading to chronic heart failure pathology. About 6 million people in the United States and 23 million worldwide suffer from this end-stage disease.

Blood cancer gene could be key to preventing heart failure

October 16, 2017
A new study, published today in Circulation, shows that the gene Runx1 increases in damaged heart muscle after a heart attack. An international collaboration led by researchers from the University of Glasgow, found that mice ...

How Gata4 helps mend a broken heart

August 15, 2017
During a heart attack, blood stops flowing into the heart; starved for oxygen, part of the heart muscle dies. The heart muscle does not regenerate; instead it replaces dead tissue with scars made of cells called fibroblasts ...

Recommended for you

Study shows in-home therapy effective for stroke rehabilitation

May 24, 2018
In-home rehabilitation, using a telehealth system and supervised by licensed occupational/physical therapists, is an effective means of improving arm motor status in stroke survivors, according to findings presented by University ...

New guidelines mean 1 in 3 adults may need blood pressure meds

May 23, 2018
(HealthDay)—One out of every three U.S. adults has high blood pressure that should be treated with medication, under guidelines recently adopted by the two leading heart health associations.

Surgery involving ultrasound energy found to treat high blood pressure

May 23, 2018
An operation that targets the nerves connected to the kidney has been found to significantly reduce blood pressure in patients with hypertension, according to the results of a clinical trial led in the UK by Queen Mary University ...

To have or not to have... your left atrial appendage closed

May 22, 2018
Each year in the U.S., more than 300,000 people have heart surgery. To reduce risk of stroke for their patients, surgeons often will close the left atrial appendage, which is a small sac in the left side of the heart where ...

Natural antioxidant bilirubin may improve cardiovascular health

May 18, 2018
Bilirubin, a yellow-orange pigment, is formed after the breakdown of red blood cells and is eliminated by the liver. It's not only a sign of a bruise, it may provide cardiovascular benefits, according to a large-scale epidemiology ...

New algorithm more accurately predicts life expectancy after heart failure

May 17, 2018
A new algorithm developed by UCLA researchers more accurately predicts which people will survive heart failure, and for how long, whether or not they receive a heart transplant. The algorithm would allow doctors to make more ...

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.