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Gene Alteration in Mice Mimics Heart-Building Effect of Exercise

Date: 5.1.2011 

By tweaking a single gene, scientists have mimicked in sedentary mice the heart-strengthening effects of two weeks of endurance training, according to a report from Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center (BIDMC).

The genetic manipulation spurred the animals' heart muscle cells -- called cardiomyocytes -- to proliferate and grow larger by an amount comparable to normal mice that swam for up to three hours a day, the authors write in the journal Cell.

This specific gene manipulation can't be done in humans, they say, but the findings may suggest a future strategy for repairing injured hearts through muscle regeneration.

The investigators found that the mildly enlarged hearts of the genetically altered mice proved to be surprisingly resistant to a model of cardiac stress that mimics valvular heart disease or the effects of high blood pressure.

Original Paper:

Pontus Boström, Nina Mann, Jun Wu, Pablo A. Quintero, Eva R. Plovie, Daniela Panáková, Rana K. Gupta, Chunyang Xiao, Calum A. MacRae, Anthony Rosenzweig, Bruce M. Spiegelman. C/EBPβ Controls Exercise-Induced Cardiac Growth and Protects against Pathological Cardiac Remodeling. Cell, 2010; 143 (7): 1072-1083 DOI: 10.1016/j.cell.2010.11.036






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