Innovative Method To Prevent Heart Tissue Damage

Armen Hareyan's picture

A new molecule is found that can prevent heart issue from damage cause by lack of blood flow.

It is known that heart tissue dies because of weakened blood flow, which can be caused by heart attack, blood clots, coronary bypass surgery, Alzheimer's and Parkinson's diseases. When blood flow is weakened, lack of oxygen occurs, which crates free radicals damaging tissue.

This new innovative method can protect the heart tissue from being damaged.


Researchers from Stanford University found that aldehyde dehydrogenase 2 (ALDH2) enzyme helps heart fight damage. The enzyme was known long ago and it was being actively studied by Japanese and Chinese researchers. ALDH2 was also known for its ability to proceed alcohol: moderate drinkers with active enzyme are not getting drunk easily, because they are able to remove alcohol from organism quickly. This research can also explain why those who easily proceed alcohol have fewer heart attacks.

When ALDH2's ability was just discovered, researchers started looking at ways of activating it. They tried on mice and found that a molecule named Alda-1 can do it. When mice were given the molecule just a short while before a heart attack, they showed to have 60% less heart tissue damage.

"Although this enzyme was discovered a long time ago, my research group knew nothing about it except that it helps remove alcohol when people drink," said study leader Dr Daria Mochly-Rosen. "We've found a totally new pathway for reducing the damage caused by free-radicals, such as the damage that happens during a heart attack."

Researchers now need to replicate the study on humans and if it works, they will work on developing a pill, which could be taken whenever heart is at risk. However, there is still a long time to wait before the heart pill gets ready.