Researchers discover natural products against fibrosis and diastolic heart failure
According to experts, there has been no drug therapy for diastolic heart failure (heart failure). But researchers have now discovered effective natural products against fibrosis and diastolic heart failure.
As the Hannover Medical School (MHH) writes in a message, diseases of the cardiovascular system are the number one cause of death worldwide - even before cancer. New therapies for heart failure and the associated pathological growth of the heart muscle are therefore urgently sought. Researchers at the MHH have now taken this one step further.
Nature is an inexhaustible source of therapeutically active substances
Although nature is an inexhaustible source of therapeutically effective substances, the search for a suitable active ingredient against a specific disease is often like the famous search for a needle in a haystack.
An international research team from the USA, France, Spain, Italy and Germany has now successfully discovered two compounds that prevent the abnormal growth of the heart muscle known as fibrosis and at the same time ensure that the heart relaxes in the so-called diastolic pumping phase and fill it with blood again.
The study was carried out by the Institute for Molecular and Translational Therapy Strategies of the MHH under the direction of Professor Dr. Dr. Thomas Thum performed; the renowned US research institutions Stanford University and Harvard Medical School Boston were also involved in the research work.
The results were published in the "Circulation" journal.
Possible basis for new heart medication
About half of those suffering from heart failure are diastolic heart failure, which was hardly recognized until a few years ago. Affected people drag themselves through everyday life with shortness of breath and water retention - there has been no drug therapy so far, the UKM (Münster University Hospital) said in a message a few months ago.
Researchers from Hanover have now gained new knowledge in the search for new therapies for heart failure and the associated pathological growth of the heart muscle.
"In our investigations, we have now discovered two promising substances that occur in nature and can serve as the basis for new heart medications," explains Professor Thum.
As part of the multidisciplinary EU funding project FIBROTARGETS to identify new therapeutic approaches against fibrosis, the scientists from a natural product library with more than 150,000 naturally occurring substances 480 examined in more detail.
According to the information, two substances revealed the potential to prevent the connective tissue cells (fibroblasts) of the pathologically weakened heart from forming more and more fibrosis and thus stiffening the heart.
One antifibrosis substance is called Lycorin and is a plant ingredient from the Belladonna lily and the other fibrosis inhibitor is called Bufalin, originally comes from the poison of the Chinese toad and influences the heart function.
Hope for over 30 million patients
"We tested the two anti-fibrotic substances first in human fibroblasts and then in mice and rats," explains the cardiologist. In both animal models, thanks to the natural substances, it was possible to prevent fibrosis in the heart and to improve the diastolic function of the heart.
The substances are apparently therapeutically effective dosed well tolerated and do not damage the liver or kidneys after the first toxicological tests.
"The sensational thing about it is that there is currently no therapy for a diastolic dysfunction of the heart," says the scientist.
This means great hope for over 30 million patients worldwide who suffer from heart failure and simultaneous diastolic heart failure. The international research team therefore assumes that the publication will meet with a huge response in the professional world. (ad)
Author and source information
This text corresponds to the specifications of the medical literature, medical guidelines and current studies and has been checked by medical doctors.
- Hannover Medical School (MHH): Natural substances against fibrosis and diastolic heart failure discovered, (accessed: 22.01.2020), Hannover Medical School (MHH)
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