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Scientists Find A Way To Prevent Cardiac Fibrosis

Jul 28, 2016 04:51 AM EDT
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Researchers have discovered a way to prevent cardiac fibrosis – a condition leading to heart failure.
(Photo : stevepb / Pixabay)

Researchers have discovered a way to prevent cardiac fibrosis - a condition leading to heart failure.

A groundbreaking study from the University of Alberta and McGill University in Canada has opened new possibilities for the prevention of the currently untreatable condition called cardiac fibrosis.

"This is something that nobody has ever seen before," Marek Michalak, professor in the Department of Biochemistry at the University of Alberta's Faculty of Medicine & Dentistry and co-principal investigator of the study, said in a press release.

"Cardiac fibrosis is considered a permanent remodeling of the heart. Inevitably it leads to heart failure and eventually death. The bottom line is that this shows for the first time that cardiac fibrosis is preventable."

In the study, which was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research and published in PLOS One, researchers found the specific triggers that activate the development of fibrosis, which accelerates heart failure. Using a specific kind of bile acid, the researchers were able to block the triggers and prevented cardiac fibrosis from occurring.

"Prevention of fibrosis will extend the ability of the heart to continue to function, even if at a reduced capacity," Luis Agellon, professor at McGill University's School of Dietetics and Human Nutrition and co-principal investigator of the study, said in the same statement.

"Currently patients with heart failure have poor quality of life and a dismal prognosis. Improving their quality of life will do wonders for these individuals."

Cardiac fibrosis is caused by high blood pressure, overworked cardiac muscle, and continuous consumption of high-fat, high-sugar diet. According to the study, people with diabetes have a high risk of developing cardiac fibrosis, as well as cancer patients undergoing chemotherapy and heart transplant recipients.

According to the researchers, they do not fully understand yet how the bile acid was able to prevent cardiac fibrosis, adding that further studies will be conducted on the matter.

The research team is also planning to do additional studies to determine whether the therapeutic effect could be achieved in humans.

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