Enzyme Triggers Cell Death in Heart Attack, University of Iowa Study
Published: Oct 12, 2012
University of Iowa researchers have previously shown that an enzyme called CaM kinase II plays a pivotal role in the death of heart cells following a heart attack or other conditions that damage or stress heart muscle. Loss of beating heart cells is generally permanent and leads to heart failure, a serious, debilitating condition that affects 5.8 million people in the United States. Now the UI team, led by Mark Anderson, M.D., Ph.D., professor and head of internal medicine at the UI Carver College of Medicine, has honed in on how CaM kinase II triggers heart cell death following heart damage, showing that the action takes place in the cells' energy-producing mitochondria. In animal tests, the team reports that blocking the enzyme can prevent heart cells from dying, and protects the animals from heart failure.