Drug that targets body clock may prevent heart attack damage

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A preclinical study in mice has tested a new method that could prevent the scarring that occurs after a heart attack and thus prevent heart failure. The researchers have used a drug to target aspects of the body clock that trigger harmful immune responses.
Researchers are developing a treatment that may promote heart muscle healing after a heart attack and prevent associated heart failure.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), someone in the United States experiences a heart attack every 40 seconds.
In this medical emergency, the blood flow to the heart becomes obstructed, stopping the organ from functioning normally and damaging some of its muscle tissue.
After a heart attack, as the heart tissue begins to heal, scar tissue forms and is unable to contract and relax as well as healthy tissue.
With time, this may lead to heart failure, in which the heart becomes unable to pump blood effectively.
While various treatments can help individuals with heart failure manage their condition, there is no cure that can reverse it. But what if doctors were able to prevent scar tissue from forming after a heart attack and thus make heart failure less likely?
This is precisely what a team of researchers from the University of Guelph, in Ontario, Canada, are working toward. In a preclinical study in mouse models, the research team has tested a new method that aims to prevent the formation of scar tissue in the heart.
In a study paper that appeared today, in Nature Communications Biology, Prof. Tami Martino and Cristine Reitz, a doctoral researcher at Guelph, explain that they have used a research drug called SR9009 to target aspects of the circadian clock, or body clock.
This “clock” regulates the body’s automatic functions, such as breathing, as well as other more subtle mechanisms, including some immune system responses. When it comes to heart health, circadian mechanisms control, among other things, the ways in which this organ responds to damage and repairs itself. In the current research, Prof. Martino and Reitz used SR9009 to block the expression of certain genes that play a role in triggering harmful immune responses that eventually lead to the formation of scar tissue following a heart attack.
A meta-analysis of recent trial data indicates that omega-3 supplements could help prevent heart attacks. To test this approach, the investigators administered the drug to mice and found that SR9009 helped reduce NLRP3 inflammasome production.