OTTAWA, May 17 /CNW/ - Researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart
Institute (UOHI) have identified a novel gene in the nucleus of muscle
and brain cells that affects heart development and the aging process.
Their investigation brings the promise of new treatments for an old,
"We know that aging is the greatest predictor of cardiovascular disease
and heart failure. So we have been working backward in time, looking at
the fetal heart to understand changes in the process as it ages, grows
frail and fails," said molecular biologist Patrick Burgon, PhD.
A research team led by Burgon discovered the gene in the cell's nucleus
- the site where hereditary information or DNA is housed - suggesting
that it may control the behavior of other genes important in heart
The researchers, who focus on the fetal heart as it grows into an adult
heart, named the gene MLIP for Muscle enriched A-type Lamin Interacting
Protein. Mutations in the Lamin gene family are associated with
muscular dystrophy and other degenerative heart muscle diseases.
Their findings have been reported electronically in the Journal of
Biological Chemistry: www.jbc.org/content/early/2011/04/15/jbc.M110.165548.abstract and are scheduled for formal publication in June. Researchers now will
investigate how animal models respond when the MLIP gene is removed to
gain greater knowledge into its function.
"Greater knowledge of this gene and how it works will help us understand
loss of cardiac function. Our research opens up new avenues relevant to
the characteristics of cardiac development," said Burgon.
At the Heart Institute, studies to identify complex cardiovascular
mechanisms are part of a world-wide effort among a core of leading
scientific organizations. The Heart Institute collaborates with an
international consortium that has already discovered 13 new genes that
increase the risk of coronary artery disease (CAD).
Heart Institute researchers previously identified gene 9p21 - the first
genetic risk factor recognized for heart disease and the first major
new cardiovascular risk factor since the discovery of cholesterol. The
Institute has also located a variety of other genes influencing
diseases such as atrial fibrillation and biological processes such as
Research by Burgon's group was funded by the Heart institute and
Canadian Institutes of Health Research.
The University of Ottawa Heart Institute is Canada's largest and
foremost cardiovascular health centre dedicated to understanding,
treating and preventing heart disease. We deliver high-tech care with a
personal touch, shape the way cardiovascular medicine is practiced, and
revolutionize cardiac treatment and understanding. We build knowledge
through research and translate discoveries into advanced care. We serve
the local, national and international community, and are pioneering a
new era in heart health. For more information, visit www.ottawaheart.ca
Editors: A photograph is available showing the magnified image of the
gene expressed in the brain and in the heart.
/NOTE TO PHOTO EDITORS: A photo accompanying this release is available
at http://photos.newswire.ca. Images are free to accredited members of the media/
SOURCE OTTAWA HEART INSTITUTE, UNIVERSITY OF OTTAWA
For further information:
Senior Manager, Public Affairs
University of Ottawa Heart Institute