Gene Tweak May Keep Hearts Younger

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Turning Off the P13K Gene Helped Maintain Heart Function in Aging Mice

By Miranda Hitti
WebMD Health News

Reviewed By Elizabeth Klodas, MD, FACC

Oct. 12, 2009 -- A certain form of the P13K gene could be a key to keeping the heart young and preventing age-related heart failure, Japanese researchers report.

Those scientists, who included Yasutaka Inuzaka, MD, of Kyoto University, studied mice in which one form of the P13K gene was suppressed.

Compared to normal mice, the mice with the suppressed form of the P13K gene had worse heart function when they were young, but better cardiac function when they were old.

That form of the P13K gene could play a role in the aging of the heart, Inuzaka and colleagues report.

Inuzaka's team only studied the mice until they were 20 months old, because after that point, tumors (especially in the lungs) became more common in the strain of mice the researchers had chosen to use for this experiment.

But if scientists can find a way to affect the P13K gene safely and keep the aging heart young, that could help prevent age-related heart failure, notes Tetsuo Shioi, MD, PhD, of Kyoto University.

Shioi, Inuzaka and colleagues haven't studied the P13K gene in people yet. Details of their lab tests on mice appear online in the journal Circulation.

SOURCES: Inuzaka, Y. Circulation, Oct. 12, 2009; online edition.

News release, American Heart Association.

©2009 WebMD, LLC. All Rights Reserved.

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