. One of the key processes involved is the release of fatty acids from adipose tissue. In order to gain a better understanding of this process, the research team used an animal model, which allowed them to interfere with the lipid metabolism and to knock out the gene responsible for the relevant enzyme, adipose triglyceride lipase (ATGL). This resulted in all treated mice developing near-complete protection against heart failure.
‘Therapeutic targeting of non-cardiac tissue may provide new opportunities for future heart failure therapy.’
As part of this study, the research team also analyzed blood samples from patients with and without heart failure. Some aspects of the changes observed in the lipid composition of blood samples were comparable to those observed in the animal model.
The research team is now planning to transfer these results into clinical practice. In doing so, they will be guided by one central question: how might a drug-based treatment target the gene responsible for the release of fatty acids and the enzyme ATGL, and how might it do so exclusively in adipose tissue? The team is also planning to conduct further analyses of patient samples to confirm their results, and are working with Charité-based cardiologists to determine the role of adipose tissue in patients with heart failure within the clinical setting.
In summary, Prof. Kintscher said, "For patients, this means that we should be starting to pay greater attention to adipose tissue when making diagnostic and treatment decisions
, even when our primary aim is to treat heart disease."