The Reporter
No 490, 19 May 2003
Main stories
News in brief
In the news
Small ads


Main stories

Studying the secrets of the heart


Research in biomedical sciences is studying the intricate workings of the heart in two apparently different situations which show surprising similarities.

The projects are looking at enlargement of the heart, or hypertrophy, commonly caused by raised blood pressure. Although hypertrophy also occurs during endurance training exercise, in athletes the enlargement stops when the heart’s size matches the body’s physical capacity, whereas with raised blood pressure it continues to enlarge, leading to heart failure. The scientists hope to understand the cellular and genetic changes which make the heart behave this way, and why in some cases it can be fatal, yet in others not.

“The heart’s contractions are influenced by sodium levels in the cells, regulated by certain proteins,” said Professor Orchard. “The levels and distribution of these proteins change during hypertrophy, and we need to know both the consequences and what genetic message is causing these changes. Eventually, we’d like to see if the progression can be stopped, by finding – if it’s possible – the first signal which sets off the chain of events towards heart failure.”

Professor Clive Orchard is studying hypertrophy caused by raised blood pressure with Dr Simon Harrison, who is also part of the team looking at exercise-induced hypertrophy, with Dr Ed White and Dr Rudi Billeter-Clarke. Both projects are funded by the British Heart Foundation, with a total research grant of £300,000.


In this section
Current issue
Back issues
Search all reporters
Search current issue
Email the reporter
See also
Press office
Press releases
In the press
News archive
Facts and figures
History of the University
Send a postcard

Campus tour

A-Z staff & students Departments Administration & services Library Student union Campus map Site map Top 10 CampuswebContact us