Researchers who halted and even reversed some of the effects of heart disease in mice say their findings show that microRNA plays an important role in the development of heart disease. MicroRNAs regulate activity of genes.
An international team of scientists found that cells in failing hearts had higher levels of a specific type called microRNA-21. They linked it to a signaling pathway that leads to heart disease-associated tissue damage, BBC News reported.
When the researchers used a chemical to block microRNA-21, they noticed an interruption in this pathway and improved cardiac function in the mice. The findings were published in the journal Nature.
The results are "exciting," said Professor Eric Olsen, a University of Texas Southwestern Medical Centre researcher who specialises in microRNAs and heart disease.
"This research suggests you can reverse or prevent aspects of heart disease," he told BBC News. "There are already studies in large animals using microRNA inhibitors in heart disease - I can envisage that in a few years we will see this in human trials." – (HealthDayNews)