Heart failure: Intervention possibilities from imaging programmed cell loss

Apr 03, 2007

Using a nuclear medicine technique and molecular imaging to "see" programmed cell loss—the body's normal way of getting rid of unneeded or abnormal cells—may help in early identification of those individuals who are at risk of developing heart failure, say researchers in the April Journal of Nuclear Medicine.

"Our study indicates that it is feasible to noninvasively identify cell loss—or apoptosis—in heart failure patients using annexin A5 imaging," explained Leo Hofstra, director of cardiovascular imaging at the University Hospital of Maastricht in the Netherlands. "Such a strategy may offer a new possibility for studying interventions to minimize damage to the heart muscle," he added. "This research is significant since cell loss is potentially reversible and earlier intervention could delay the development of cardiomyopathy or heart muscle disease," noted Hofstra. He indicated that additional research is needed since the study was performed on a small group of heart patients.

"Heart failure is a major health care problem," said Hofstra, "and researchers are looking at novel ways to improve patient care." With heart failure, a person's heart no longer pumps sufficient blood to the body's organs. Nearly 5 million Americans are living with heart failure—a long-term condition that tends to gradually worsen—and 550,000 new cases are diagnosed each year.

Researchers attached a radioactive substance to annexin A5, a protein that binds to dying cells, said Hofstra. They then used nuclear imaging that produces three-dimensional computer-reconstructed images to reveal information about both structure and function to measure the amount of annexin A5 absorbed. Annexin A5 bound to the damaged heart muscle. "We discovered that higher uptake was uptake with a worse outcome. Cell death is one of the biological events that worsens left ventricular events," said Hofstra.

"Our results indicate that heart muscle cell death is an active and ongoing process in heart failure, and that annexin imaging could possibly guide treatment for heart patients and be used to determine whether a treatment was working," said Hofstra, co-author of "Noninvasive Detection of Programmed Cell Loss with 99mTc-Labeled Annexin A5 in Heart Failure." He anticipates that this research would spur development of new drugs for heart disease.

Source: Society of Nuclear Medicine

Explore further: Premature aging: Scientists identify and correct defects in diseased cells

Related Stories

CLAIRE brings electron microscopy to soft materials

May 14, 2015

Soft matter encompasses a broad swath of materials, including liquids, polymers, gels, foam and - most importantly - biomolecules. At the heart of soft materials, governing their overall properties and capabilities, ...

Emotion detection software used to design advertising

May 06, 2015

The marketing industry has revolutionized the way people create publicity. Through the emotions, it defines which images, colors and objects best generate product identity and achieve great sales.

Engineering team invents a camera that powers itself

Apr 15, 2015

A research team led by Shree K. Nayar, T.C. Chang Professor of Computer Science at Columbia Engineering, has invented a prototype video camera that is the first to be fully self-powered—it can produce an ...

New ways to see light and store information

Apr 13, 2015

Researchers from the University of Cologne, Jilin University and the University of Nottingham have developed a method to significantly prolong the lives of charges in organic electronic devices.

Device extracts rare tumor cells using sound

Apr 06, 2015

A simple blood test may one day replace invasive biopsies thanks to a new device that uses sound waves to separate blood-borne cancer cells from white blood cells.

Recommended for you

Why you need one vaccine for measles and many for the flu

21 hours ago

While the influenza virus mutates constantly and requires a yearly shot that offers a certain percentage of protection, old reliable measles needs only a two-dose vaccine during childhood for lifelong immunity. ...

Scientists turn blood into neural cells

21 hours ago

Scientists at McMaster University have discovered how to make adult sensory neurons from human patients simply by having them roll up their sleeve and providing a blood sample.

How our gut changes across the life course

23 hours ago

Scientists and clinicians on the Norwich Research Park have carried out the first detailed study of how our intestinal tract changes as we age, and how this determines our overall health.

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.