The new study in packs a powerful one-two punch in the fight against heart failure. The leading blow: Identification of a unique alliance of proteins that plays a major role in the development of the disease. The second but equally powerful hit: Drugs that interfere with this axis already exist.
Can green vegetable juice inhibit certain proteins from causing some illnesses?
Researchers may need to ask whether certain foods such as green vegetable juices can inhibit these proteins from playing a role in the development of heart failure. Though still in its infancy, the combination is just the type of research the scientific community is looking for in its efforts to speed up the development of the next generation of treatments for the nation’s biggest killers, of which heart disease is the long-reigning champ. But how many researchers are looking at foods such as plant extracts?
Here's how too much adrenaline circulating in your blood may lead to heart failure, which is different than heart disease. Adrenaline levels are constantly ramped in people with heart failure – the body’s attempt to recharge a weakened heart. Decades of research have established a connection between elevated adrenaline and heart failure, but there is still much to learn about how it contributes to the disease.
Locally, in the Sacramento and Davis regional area, UC Davis studies the effects of adrenaline on the heart and also how cocoa consumption suppressed ADP- or epinephrine-stimulated platelet activation and platelet microparticle formation. Cocoa consumption had an aspirin-like effect on prmary hemostasis. See the study's abstract, "Cocoa inhibits platelet activation and function1,2." Also at U.C. Davis, another student received an award to study broken-heart syndrome, which also involves examining the role of adrenaline. See, UC Davis medical student receives award to study broken-heart syndrome.
Chronically high levels of adrenaline in the bloodstream spur a protein called PAR1 into gear
Burns C. Blaxall, Ph.D., FAHA, of the University of Rochester Medical Center, led the research team to the discovery, which revolves around adrenaline, the hormone that regulates rate and strength of the heart and causes our hearts to beat furiously in a crisis.
In a mouse model of heart failure, Blaxall’s team found that chronically high levels of adrenaline spur a bad actor – a protein called PAR1 – into gear. Several years ago, collaborative work in Blaxall’s laboratory showed that over-stimulating PAR1 in cardiac muscle cells leads to heart failure, while blocking it protects against the disease.
But, like most processes in the body, adrenaline doesn’t drive PAR1 on its own; the team discovered it tags a middleman – another protein, called MMP-13 – which then prompts activation of PAR1 to wreak havoc in the heart.
“This research is very exciting because we’ve identified a completely new pathway activated by adrenaline that contributes to heart failure,” said Blaxall, an associate professor at the Aab Cardiovascular Research Institute at the Medical Center, according to the June 7, 2012 news release, "Doubling down on heart failure: Researchers discover new route to disease, and drugs to match."
Even more exciting, the team demonstrated that targeting either protein in the pathway – removing PAR1 or inhibiting MMP-13 – prevented cardiac dysfunction in mice, suggesting that drugs directed at either may hold promise for the treatment of heart disease.
“Our idea going forward is that in addition to blocking the effects of adrenaline, which is what beta blockers were designed to do, it may be wise to also inhibit MMP-13, or PAR1, or both, to help patients with heart failure,” noted Blaxall in the news release.
Inhibitors of MMP-13 are under evaluation
Potential drug candidates are already available. Inhibitors of MMP-13 are currently under evaluation, mostly as a potential treatment for rheumatoid arthritis and osteoarthritis, where MMP-13 has been shown to play a role in the development of each condition. Additionally, drugs that block PAR1 have been tested as antiplatelet agents – drugs that stop blood clots from forming – in large-scale clinical trials.
Blaxall says that in the future he plans to test drugs like these in animal models of heart failure. This strategy is in line with work being done by the National Center for Advancing Translational Sciences (NCATS) at the National Institutes of Health, established in 2011 to address the gap between basic research findings and new treatments for patients.
The center is encouraging researchers to focus on compounds that have already cleared key steps in the development process, including safety testing, as they work to develop new therapies. In addition to Blaxall, Fabrice Jaffré, Ph.D., and Zhaoyang Hu, Ph.D., postdoctoral fellows in the Blaxall Lab, Alan E. Friedman, Ph.D., Department of Environmental Medicine at the University of Rochester, and Nigel Mackman, Ph.D., John C. Parker Distinguished Professor of Medicine and Director of the UNC McAllister Heart Institute at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, contributed to the research, which was funded by the National Heart Lung and Blood Institute.
When is adrenaline (epinephrine) used to get rid of histamine during an allergic reaction?
Histamine is the chemical (neuro-transmitter) your body produces when you're having an allergic reaction. Your body also makes some histamine in your body. An allergic reaction, for example, to a bee or mosquito bite (for example), causes your body to release more histamine in the area of the bite, making your skin red and itchy or swollen.
In extreme cases, histamine levels in someone who is allergic to a bee sting or a particular food like strawberries can be elevated so high that it causes anaphylactic shock and possibly death. Adrenaline (Epinephrine) is the only chemical that can quickly eliminate histamine in a person.
Sometimes people who are allergic to specific allergens such as bee stings carry a pen to inject themselves if they're bitten by an insect to which they're allergic. And if they're allergic to a food such as peanuts or shellfish, they can inject themselves if exposed to prevent sometimes fatal shock and/or other sudden severe allergy symptoms such as difficulty in breathing.
Foods that help lower adrenaline levels
Certain foods are calming such as chamomile tea, if you're not allergic to the herbal teasan, pomegranate, decaf green tea, blueberry, mint, or hibiscus. If a calming teasan without caffeine makes you feel more relaxed, it has a good chance of lowering adrenaline in your bloodstream.
On the opposite corner, caffeine is a stimulant and raises adrenaline levels as do sugar and alcoholic beverages. Some people are so sensitive to wine that they suffer shortness of breath, flushing, and/or nausea with one alcoholic drink such as a glass of wine or beer.