Heart attacks kill almost 10 million people in the world each year and more than six million die from stroke. A heart attack is caused by a clot that blocks the artery blood flow. Unirrigated tissues are deprived from the oxygen that is carried by the blood. Under these conditions, the affected tissues undergo rapid necrosis. Scientists at the University of Geneva (UNIGE), the University of Lyon and the Institut National de la Santé et de la Recherche Médicale (Inserm) have discovered that the synthesis of a lipid, called deoxydihydroceramide, provokes the necrosis. This lipid accumulates in the absence of oxygen and blocks cellular functions. By inhibiting its synthesis in a mouse suffering a heart attack, the biologists were able to reduce the tissue damage by 30%. These results, published in Nature Metabolism, suggest a new model of treatment for victims of a heart attack or stroke.
Read the research paper: J. Thomas Hannich, A. Galih Haribowo, Sébastien Gentina, Melanie Paillard, Ludovic Gomez, Bruno Pillot, Hélène Thibault, Daniel Abegg, Nicolas Guex, Andreas Zumbuehl, Alexander Adibekian, Michel Ovize, Jean-Claude Martinou, Howard Riezman. 1-Deoxydihydroceramide causes anoxic death by impairing chaperonin-mediated protein folding. Nature Metabolism