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New target to treat heart failure identified (Image 2)

Microtubules in heart cells from healthy patient and patient with heart failure

Microtubules in heart cells from a healthy patient (left) and from a patient with heart failure. The dense network of detyrosinated microtubules impedes the motion of the failing heart cell during the heart beat. [Image 2 of 2 related images. Back to Image 1.]

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Researchers at the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania have found that changes in cellular struts called microtubules (MT) can affect the stiffness of diseased human heart muscle cells, and that reversing these modifications can lessen the stiffness and improve the beating strength of these cells isolated from transplant patients with heart failure.

"These findings provide compelling evidence from human samples for a new therapeutic target for heart disease," said Ben Prosser, an assistant professor of physiology at Penn.

The Penn investigators aim to develop therapies that seek out the damaged MTs to reverse their harmful influence.

This research was funded in part by a grant from the National Science Foundation's Science and Technology Center (CMMI 15-48571).

Read more about this research in the Penn news story New Target for Treating Heart Failure Identified by Penn Medicine Researchers. (Date image taken: 2018; date originally posted to NSF Multimedia Gallery: Aug. 23, 2018)

Credit: Ben Prosser Lab, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania

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