LA JOLLA (CNS) - A protein studied as a potential treatment for cardiovascular disease could actually trigger heart failure, according to a study released Wednesday by the Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute in La Jolla and the Stanford University School of Medicine.
According to Sanford-Burnham, researchers have long sought ways to activate the APJ protein, which sits on the surface of cells in many of the body's organs and senses changes to its external environment, as a way to treat heart disease.
The latest research, published in Thursday's edition of the journal Nature, found that APJ has a second function, reacting to internal mechanical changes within the organ.
An enlarged heart, for example, could lead APJ to respond in a way that sets a course toward heart failure, according to the study.
A team led by Pilar Ruiz-Lozano, formerly assistant professor at Sanford-Burnham and now associate professor of pediatrics at Stanford, tested enlarged hearts in mice that didn't have the APJ protein, and the organs kept functioning because they could not sense the danger.
"In other words, without APJ, ignorance is bliss -- the heart doesn't sense the danger and so it doesn't activate the hypertrophic pathways that lead to heart failure," Ruiz-Lozano said. "This tells us that, depending on how it's done, activating APJ might make matters worse for heart disease patients."
The benign function for APJ comes when it binds with a hormone called apelin. Previous studies showed that the combination of APJ and apelin directs beneficial processes such as embryonic heart development, maintenance of normal blood pressure, and new blood vessel formation.
Apelin is not involved in the harmful actions by APJ, which responds simply to changes within the organ, according to the research.
Thieves broke into a Mountain View family’s home and took their car, Christmas presents, family documents and money – all while the father fights stage four testicular cancer and his wife is eight months pregnant.
As the nation marked the sixth anniversary of the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, San Diego clergy and community members on Friday came together to remember more than half-a-million Americans killed or injured by guns since the deadly shooting.
There is new information in one of the most notorious, unsolved murders in San Diego county. A new book written by the victim’s first cousin details the 1985 murder of Donna Gentile.
High clouds hovered over the county on Friday as subtropical moisture moved in ahead of a weak trough of low pressure. The return of high pressure over Southern California will bring a sunnier setup by the weekend.
California's lawsuit against a Trump administration plan to add a citizenship question to the 2020 U.S. census moved closer to trial after a U.S. judge refused to throw out the challenge Friday.
San Diego Border Patrol on Friday announced agents arrested a group of undocumented immigrants after they jumped over a section of temporary barrier as photographers and media outlets filmed.
How many times a day do you pass a co-worker, say ‘hello,’ but not take the time to ask how they are feeling?
The "Top Nine" pictures you are seeing on Instagram is done through a website that scans your posts and profiles, but is this fun flashback safe? Eric Alvarez verifies where your information is going and why you might to think twice!
The city of San Diego will close Children's Pool beach Saturday in preparation of harbor seal pupping season, city officials announced Friday.
Your home's garage is probably filled with all types of things, but did you know some of the most common items found in garages should not be in there?