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£875,000 to investigate protein that could hold the key to reversing the effects of heart failure

Press release issued: 23 November 2012

A pioneering study that aims to investigate if a key protein, which is thought to be responsible for regulating the structure and function of the cells that cause contraction of the heart, can be manipulated to inhibit or reverse the effects of aging and heart failure will begin shortly thanks to funding of £875,000 from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

A pioneering study that aims to investigate if a key protein, which is thought to be responsible for regulating the structure and function of the cells that cause contraction of the heart, can be manipulated to inhibit or reverse the effects of aging and heart failure will begin shortly thanks to funding of £875,000 from the British Heart Foundation (BHF).

Each beat of the heart is due to rapid and synchronised release of calcium into every heart cell. A particular protein, called caveolin-3, has been implicated in the development of structures called t-tubules, and in the regulation of other proteins, which underlie such calcium release. 

The five-year study, led by researchers from the University of Bristol, aims to find out if changing the amount of this protein can change the structure and function of heart cells, and whether this can be used to ameliorate the cellular changes associated with aging and heart failure, to help restore normal cellular function in the heart.

Professor Clive Orchard, Dean of the Faculty of Medical and Veterinary Sciences and the study’s lead researcher, said: “We are extremely grateful to the BHF for this grant, which will enable us to continue to develop our work on cardiac cell structure and function and to apply our fundamental research to the changes that occur during ageing and heart failure.”

The study, funded by a Programme Grant from the British Heart Foundation, is led by Professor Clive Orchard, with Professor Mark Cannell and Dr Andy James, from the University’s School of Physiology and Pharmacology, and will begin in May 2013.

Full name of study: The role of caveolin-3 in cardiac myocyte structure and function.

 

Further information

The British Heart Foundation (BHF)

The British Heart Foundation is the nation’s heart charity, dedicated to saving lives through pioneering research, patient care, campaigning for change and by providing vital information. But we urgently need help. We rely on donations of time and money to continue our life-saving work. Because together we can beat heart disease. For more information visit http://www.bhf.org.uk

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