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General interest items edited by Janice Flahiff

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UNC researchers identify a gene critical for heart function

Just in time for Valentine’s Day: UNC researchers identify a gene critical for heart function

Hearts from a wild type control mouse (left) and from a DOT1L-deleted mouse displaying dilated cardiomyopathy (right) . In the absence of DOT1L hearts become severely enlarged, compromising heart function.

 

From the February 5, 2011 Eureka news alert

CHAPEL HILL, N.C. – Everyone knows chocolate is critical to a happy Valentine’s Day. Now scientists are one step closer to knowing what makes a heart happy the rest of the year.

It’s a gene called DOT1L, and if you don’t have enough of the DOT1L enzyme, you could be at risk for some types of heart disease. These findings from a study led by researchers at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill School of Medicine appear in the Feb. 1, 2011 issue of the journal Genes and Development.***

The team created a special line of mice that were genetically predisposed to dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition in which the heart expands like a balloon, causing its walls to thin and its pumping ability to weaken. About one in three cases of congestive heart failure is due to dilated cardiomyopathy, a condition that also occurs in children.

These mice lack DOT1L. The big discovery came when the researchers were able to prevent the mice from developing the disease by re-expressing a single downstream target gene, Dystrophin….

***For suggestions on how to get this article for free or at low cost, click here

Some other recent recent biomedical research news items

February 6, 2011 - Posted by | Medical and Health Research News | , , , , ,

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