Comparing gene activity between normal heart cells and those from patients with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy
Bigheartedness, figuratively speaking, is a wonderful trait. But literally speaking, an oversized heart can lead to arrhythmia, heart failure and sudden death. For people with hypertrophic cardiomyopathy – an inherited disorder characterised by enlargement of the heart muscle and the cells within – minimising these risks is mainly a case of adopting a heart-healthy lifestyle. Indeed, there is only one medication on the market specifically developed to treat the condition, and it too carries a risk of heart failure. To gain more insight into the pathology of hypertrophic cardiomyopathy and thus possible new ways to clinically intervene, researchers are examining which genes are turned on and off in individual heart cells (pictured) from people with (right) and without (left) the condition. The next step will be to sort through the many disease-associated genes to find those that are driving pathology and that might be suitable targets for new drugs.
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