Burmese Python may harbour human heart disease cure
Washington, Oct 28 (ANI): Scientist have identified three fatty acids involved in the extreme growth of Burmese pythons' hearts following large meals, which they believe could help in treating diseased human hearts
Growth of the human heart can be beneficial when resulting from exercise - a type of growth known as physiological cardiac hypertrophy - but damaging when triggered by disease - growth known as pathological hypertrophy.
The new research co-authored by a University of Alabama scientist described a potential avenue by which to make the unhealthy heart growth more like the healthy version.
"We may later be able to turn the tables, in a sense, in the processes involved in pathological hypertrophy by administering a combination of fatty acids that occur in very high concentrations in the blood of digesting pythons," said Dr. Stephen Secor, associate professor of biological sciences at UA and one of the study's co-authors.
"This could trigger, perhaps, something more akin to the physiological form of hypertrophy," he added.
The researchers identified the three fatty acids, myristic acid, palmitic acid and palmitoleic acid, for their roles in the snakes' healthy heart growths after a meal.
They then took these fatty acids from feasting pythons and infused them into fasting pythons.
Afterward, those fasting pythons underwent heart-rate growths similar to that of the feasting pythons.
In a similar fashion, the researchers were able to induce comparable heart-rate growths in rats, indicating that the fatty acids have a similar effect on the mammalian heart.
The finding will be publishing in the Oct. 28 issue of Science. (ANI)
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