Protecting heart cells after heart attack

German researchers have found a way, in mice, to slow the death of heart cells that occurs in the aging heart and following a heart attack. They identified a gene called PNUTS that has lower activity in older mice, and also is less active after a heart attack. By increasing the activity of the PNUTS gene, the research team slowed the aging of the heart muscle and also reduced the damage to heart muscle following an experimentally caused heart attack in the mice. The work was published in the journal Nature.

In a commentary on this work, Dr. Richard Lee (former co-editor of the Harvard Heart Letter) and colleagues say this finding could open the door to new treatments in humans that might limit the damage caused by heart attacks.

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