Heart failure has been described as a life-threatening condition affecting an estimated 23 million people worldwide.
Lead researcher, Westmead Institute for Medical Research, Associate Professor James Chong said that cardiovascular diseases, including heart attacks and heart failure were the leading cause of death worldwide.
He said new treatments were necessary to reduce the global burden of heart failure.
A new research by his team has shown how vitamin D may help protect heart tissue and prevent heart failure after a heart attack, potentially offering a low-cost addition to existing treatments for heart failure.
The Researchers discovered that vitamin D prevents excessive scarring and thickening of heart tissue following a heart attack, which may help reduce the risk of heart failure.
Professor Chong said that vitamin D was known to help protect against heart failure, but its interaction with cardiac colony-forming unit fibroblasts (cCFU-Fs) was not well established.
“The benefits of vitamin D are becoming increasingly known, but we still don’t fully understand how mechanistically it can help with heart disease management. We wanted to know more about how vitamin D protects the heart after a heart attack,” he explained.
He said that heart attacks occur when blood supply to the heart is blocked, leading to tissue damage.
Professor Chong added that this triggers an inflammatory response where the cardiac colony-forming unit cCFU-Fs replace the damaged tissue with collagen-based scar tissue.
“This is a problem because scarring of heart tissue can reduce the heart’s ability to pump blood effectively, which can lead to heart failure.
“Our research shows that vitamin D actually blocks the cCFU-Fs from forming scar tissue. By blocking cCFU-Fs, vitamin D may play an important role in lowering the risk of heart failure after a heart attack,” he said.
The Daily Trust News