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Protecting the heart thanks to a molecule that boasts newly discovered effects

Prevent and treat damage caused by a heart attack (myocardial infarction): that is the result produced by a molecule whose protective effect on the heart was discovered and proven by a team of investigators at the Centre de recherche de l’Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal (HSCM).

A myocardial infarction results when an artery in the heart becomes blocked and is no longer able to supply blood, and therefore oxygen, to the heart. The lack of oxygen causes cells in a section of the heart to die, thereby diminishing the heart’s ability to pump blood. The molecule called Gap26, which is a constituent component of a protein, is actually an artificial peptide that renders cells more resistant to the lack of oxygen. This is the first time the protective effect of a synthetic peptide on the heart has been proven, specifically affecting the damaged section of the heart.

Reducing damage to the heart

The study, which was carried out on rat, helped to concretely demonstrate that this molecule can be used as a preventive treatment. According to Ghayath Baroudi, Ph. D., principal researcher of the study, investigator with the cardiovascular health section of the HSCM Research Centre, and assistant investigator in the Department of Medicine at Université de Montréal: “When it is administered within 30 minutes following the infarction, it helps to reduce the size of the section of heart affected by the heart attack by more than 50%. We also discovered that the molecule had a preventive effect when it was administered prior to an infarction, reducing the size of the damaged area by 50%.”

Preserving the heart’s ability to pump blood

In addition, Baroudi’s team succeeded in demonstrating that Gap26 significantly preserves the heart’s ability to pump blood. The heart normally regains only 65% of its pumping capacity following a myocardial infarction. Thanks to this molecule, whether it is used for prevention or for treatment, nearly 90% of pumping capacity can be restored.

Baroudi continued: “This discovery is very promising for people who are susceptible to myocardial infarction, because the molecule can be reproduced easily and quickly, and can lead to the development of a medication.”

About the study

The authors of the article entitled Connexin 43 Mimetic Peptide Gap26 Confers Protection to Intact Heart Against Myocardial Ischemia Injury, published in Pflügers Archiv – European Journal of Physiology, are Ghayda Hawat, Mohamed Benderdour, Guy Rousseau, and Ghayath Baroudi, investigators at the Biomedicine Centre at the Research Centre at Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal and Université de Montréal.

Partners in Research

This study was supported by the Fonds de la recherche en santé du Québec, the Heart and Stroke Foundation oh Québec and the Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council of Canada.

The HSCM Research Centre

Renowned for the excellence of its health research and training activities, the HSCM Research Centre is specifically interested in the following thematic areas: cardiovascular health, respiratory health, the genetics and epidemiology of kidney disease, mental health / neurosciences, and traumatology / orthopaedics, intensive care and emergency medicine.

Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal (HSCM)

Hôpital du Sacré-Cœur de Montréal is a supra-regional centre and a member of the vast network of excellence comprising Université de Montréal and its affiliated institutions. A major component of the Québec health system, it mainly serves the population living in the northwest section of Montréal and in the regions of Laval, the Laurentians, the Lanaudière, and Abitibi-Témiscamingue.

For information and interview with the researcher:
Service des communications, HSCM
514 338-2222, ext. 3248
veronique.allaire.hsc@ssss.gouv.qc.ca
www.hscm.ca or www.hscm.ca/recherche

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