Annual Report 2001 - Cornell University
003 Selected Faculty Research

11 Finding New Therapies for Heart Attacks

Roberto Levi and Randi Silver, Weill Cornell Medical College, and colleagues showed that the activation of a histamine receptor, the H3-receptor, limits the release of noradrenaline, which causes arrhythmias (disturbances of the heartbeat). When heart attacks strike, the nerve endings in the heart release excessive amounts of the neurotransmitter, noradrenaline, leading to arrhythmias, which could be fatal. With guinea pigs and human cell lines, the researchers demonstrated this critical role of the H3-receptor in limiting the release of noradrenaline, based on the ability of the H3-receptor to modulate intracellular levels of calcium and sodium. The research could lead to new drugs that stimulate the H3-receptor exclusively in the heart and peripheral nervous system. Although there are other drugs that can be taken at the time of a heart attack, stimulants of the H3-receptor may not have the problematic side effects of other drugs.

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© 2002 by the Office of the Vice Provost for Research [OVPR], Cornell University.

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