In their paper, Dr. Liu et al report that the expression of a protein, a growth factor known as IGFBP7, is significantly increased in the heart and blood in patients with chronic heart failure. In a pressure overload heart failure model, the team found that the removal of the Igfbp7 gene diminishes cardiac dysfunction by reducing cardiac inflammation, development of cardiac fibrous tissue and cellular aging. IGFBP7 was found to promote cardiac aging by suppressing a transcription factor known as FOXO3a, preventing DNA repair and reactive oxygen species removal. This process thereby accelerates the progression of heart failure. Consequently, selectively targeting IGFBP7-regulated senescence pathways may have broad therapeutic potential for heart failure, a chronic condition affecting about 750,000 Canadians.
University of Ottawa Heart Institute