Technology Gives Glimpse Into Genetics of Heart Attacks, Cancer
WebMD News Archive
Although cardiac hypertrophy is considered a way for the heart to adapt to
illness -- it also puts the heart at greatly increased risk for failure.
Lowe and colleagues got a glimpse of the changes that the heart undergoes,
both during fetal development and following a heart attack, by using the
microarray technology to take a snapshot of hundreds or thousands of genes at
the same time.
They found that 12 genes that are known to be associated with heart
development were active in the sample of growing heart tissue. But they also
found 10 unidentified sections of DNA that could be new genes and identified 36
genes that had not previously been associated with heart development.
In hearts from animals that had suffered heart attacks, genes associated
with stress on the heart and wound healing appeared to be more active than in
normal heart tissue, and "14 genes not previously associated with [heart
attacks] were identified," Lowe and colleagues write.
Although the genetic findings were inconclusive, Lowe tells WebMD that the
study proved the benefit of using microarray technology to monitor how various
types of heart tissues respond to physical stress.
"One of the points we wanted to try to understand for ourselves was the
degree to which we would be able to use the microarrays in studying tissue
samples," Lowe tells WebMD. "It seems like a simple question, but
anybody who has worked with animals will know the intrinsic variability of the
systems, and we needed to know those parameters for ourselves."
- Scientists have developed a new technology that can scan the activity of
30,000 genes simultaneously.
- This microarray technology can help determine how different types of heart
tissue responds to physical stress and can scan the thousands of genes in a
- Researchers hope this technology will one day lead to better understanding
and treatment of heart conditions and cancer.