Chilean scientists discover new form of heart failure is generated

Chilean scientists discover new form of heart failure is generated

The finding – recently published by Nature, the most important scientific journal on the planet – was developed by a group of international researchers, highlighting the participation of Chileans Francisco Altamirano, Sergio Lavandero and Elisa Villalobos, belonging to the Advanced Chronic Diseases Center (ACCDiS) and the University of Chile

Heart failure is the end stage of several cardiovascular diseases very common in our population, including high blood pressure and myocardial infarction. It is considered by specialists to be an emerging epidemic, due to its increasing prevalence and the high costs it demands for health systems.

Currently, the coexistence of several cardiovascular risk factors – obesity, diabetes mellitus, high cholesterol, sedentary, smoking and high blood pressure – which characterizes today's society – have led to the emergence of a new pathology known as heart failure with preserved systolic function. This new form of insufficiency prevents the heart from reaching properly, affecting nearly half of patients with heart failure, both in Chile and in countries with the highest level of development. To date, the mechanisms that generate it and effective therapies for mitigation are not known.

A group of scientists from the Division of Cardiology at the University of Texas Southwestern Medical Center, USA. U.S. and the Advanced Chronic Diseases Center (ACCDiS), made up of cardiologists Gabriele Schiattarella, Joseph A. Hill and Chileans Francisco Altamirano, Elisa Villalobos and Sergio Lavandero, worked for more than seven years to find out how to confront this new pathology, using a new animal model that faithfully imitates what happens in humans.

His research, disseminated in the article published in Nature, entitled "Nitrosative stress drives heart failure with preserved ejection fraction", describes that the increase in nitric oxide causes heart damage by altering the functioning of proteins IRE1 and XBP1s, responsible for protecting the heart.

Development of science in ACCDiS

The discovery of the mechanism described is, in Altamirano's words, "a gigantic achievement that will generate future therapies for this new pathology", highlighting the high level of preparation of the new generations of scientists trained by the centers of Chilean excellence.

In this regard, the first author of the study, Gabriele Schiattarella, noted that "thanks to the productive collaboration between ACCDiS and the Cardiology division of the UT Southwestern Medical Center I had the privilege of interacting with Francisco Altamirano, Elisa Villalobos and Sergio Lavandero, which generated a pleasant atmosphere of collaboration throughout this project. Altamirano was key in providing a deep biochemical knowledge. Villalobos carried out fundamental experiments and Lavandero guided me in the design and conduct of these investigations. In short, this publication in Nature could not have happened without the contribution of this group of Chilean scientists."

Meanwhile, the director of the Advanced Center for Chronic Diseases (ACCDiS), professor of the Faculties of Chemical sciences and pharmaceuticals and medicine of the University of Chile and author of this study, Sergio Lavandero, stressed that "this new form of insufficiency cardiaca is a strategic issue for ACCDiS, since we must be in full harmony with the present and future challenges of the cardiovascular area".

It also emphasizes that all these researches are possible thanks to the close collaboration between the two leading universities in the country: University of Chile and Pontifical Catholic University of Chile and the support of the program of centers of excellence in Areas Priority Fondap de Conicyt. Lavandero stresses the need to continue investing in science for the country to a new level of development.

Source: Nature