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Protein Could Warn of Heart Failure

Another study suggests high levels of GRK2 point to danger

MONDAY, Sept. 11, 2006 (HealthDay News) -- Levels of a protein called GRK2, which plays an important regulatory role in heart failure, are higher in patients with failing hearts than in those with normal hearts, U.S. researchers report.

The finding supports previous research that identified GRK2 as a potential biomarker for heart failure.

In this study, researchers at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia analyzed white blood cells from 20 heart failure patients and 30 people without heart disease, checking their levels of GRK2.

"We have confirmed that GRK2 in white blood cells is elevated in human patients with failing hearts when compared to subjects with normal left ventricular function. The GRK2 levels in heart failure patients were three to four times higher," study author Dr. Amit Mittal, a heart failure research fellow at Jefferson Medical College, said in a prepared statement.

The study was to be presented Monday at the annual scientific meeting of the Heart Failure Society of America, in Seattle.

"These findings add to the growing evidence that GRK2 is a biomarker for heart failure," Dr. Walter Koch, director of the Center for Translational Medicine at Jefferson Medical College, said in a prepared statement.

In previous research, Koch had found that GRK2 was elevated in failing hearts and that during the development of heart failure the protein had contributed to the loss of the heart's contractile strength.

"Future studies will compare GRK2 levels in heart failure patients treated with standard prescription drugs and device therapy to test our hypothesis that GRK2 can be a surrogate marker for determination of a given patient's response to treatment," Koch said.

More information

The American Heart Association has more about heart failure.

SOURCE: Thomas Jefferson University, news release, Sept. 11, 2006
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