Researchers note weight loss is an important predictor of poor outcome in patients with heart failure. But doctors have little to go on regarding why heart failure patients lose weight or how to put the pounds back on.
The study focused on elevated levels of angiotensin II, a substance in the blood that causes vessels to contract and blood pressure to rise . A study conducted in mice that showed administration of the substance led to significant weight loss and angiotensin II was also linked to a decrease in blood and skeletal muscle levels of insulin-like growth factor 1 (IGF-1).
A more recent study was done by researchers to help clarify how angiotensin II and IGF-1 work to produce weight loss. Using various scientific methods, they showed angiotensin II inhibits IGF-1 signaling in skeletal muscle, which in turn, leads to skeletal muscle loss. They also found a complete reversal of angiotensin-related weight loss in mice that were genetically engineered to produce more than the normal amount of IGF-1.
Thus researchers believe these findings can be used to help develop new treatments for congestive heart failure and other wasting conditions.