Researchers have discovered that the progression of cardiac hypertrophylinks can be halted by increasing one of the body’s naturally occurring proteins known as REST. Cardiac hypertrophy is a relatively common condition characterized by an abnormal thickening of the heart muscle.
Dr Ooi’s study is the first to identify the mechanism behind specific changes in protein levels that impact upon cardiac cell size. Levels of two proteins, known as ANP and BNP, are naturally higher in foetal hearts and the hearts of babies and children, but should drop as an individual matures. However, in adults with cardiac hypertrophy these levels increase to become abnormally high.
Dr Ooi has found that an increase in a third protein in the body, known as REST, can halt the rise of the proteins causing cardiac hypertrophy, which, for the first time, offers an approach to treating the cause of heart hypertrophy rather than its symptoms.