A new gene responsible for aging process of the heart has been identified by researchers. The gene is located in the nucleus of muscle and brain cells.
The investigation, by the researchers at the University of Ottawa Heart Institute (UOHI led by molecular biologist Patrick Burgon, may pave the way for developing new treatments for an old, failing heart.
"We know that aging is the greatest predictor of cardiovascular disease and heart failure. So we have been working backward in time, looking at the fetal heart to understand changes in the process as it ages, grows frail and fails," Burgon said.
According to researchers, the gene housed in the cell's nucleus, a site where hereditary information or DNA is located, may control the behaviour of other genes important in heart development.
The gene has been named MLIP for Muscle enriched A-type Lamin Interacting Protein. Mutations in the Lamin gene family are linked with muscular dystrophy and other degenerative heart muscle diseases.
"Greater knowledge of this gene and how it works will help us understand loss of cardiac function. Our research opens up new avenues relevant to the characteristics of cardiac development," Burgon added.
The study findings have been reported online in the Journal of Biological Chemistry.