Research highlight

Cell biology: Arresting cardiac disease

Nature Communications

September 26, 2012

A certain microRNA family is necessary and sufficient to induce cardiac hypertrophy leading to heart failure in mice, reports a new study in Nature Communications this week. These findings reveal new insights into microRNA-mediated regulation of heart development and cardiovascular system stability.

Cardiac diseases including heart failure are one of the leading causes of human mortality and current therapeutic approaches to treat heart failure have limited success. MicroRNAs are known to be involved in many developmental and physiological processes of the heart as well as many other organs in the body. Thomas Thum and colleagues use microRNA expression studies to identify the 212/132 family as being important in hypertrophy in rodent heart cells. Intravenous injection of specific inhibitors against one of these microRNAs was shown to protect the mice from cardiac hypertrophy and heart failure.

The authors suggest that these findings may offer a promising novel therapeutic approach for treating cardiac hypertrophy as well as heart failure.

doi: 10.1038/ncomms2090

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