Diabetes drugs belonging to a class called Thiazolidinediones (TZDs) have had a controversial history with most doctors contending they raise heart risks for patients.
New data now indicates that taking a TZD may cause heart failure, which cripples the ability of heart to pump blood. In the study, researchers found that a molecule called PPAR-2 may play an important role in causing heart failure.
"We already knew if you had heart failure you probably should not be taking these drugs, but this paper provides an additional explanation why," Nature quoted Clay Semenkovich, an endocrinologist at the Washington University School of Medicine in St Louis, Missouri, as saying.
The study found that when the heart enlarges it is unable to get sufficient oxygen to pump blood. They equated this with the presence of high levels of PPAR-2, which may stimulate accumulation of fat in heart cells. In lab mice when the PPAR-2 was removed, the heart cells did not accumulate fat and did not die.
The details are published in the June issue of Cell Metabolism.