[Cite as http://purl.org/au-research/grants/nhmrc/353592]
A/Pr Marie Bogoyevitch
Brief description Recent statistics show that the disease known commonly as heart failure accounts for about 3000 deaths each year in Australia. Worldwide, a staggering 10 million people are thought to currently suffer from heart failure, with this number continuing to rise despite decreasing numbers of people suffering from other forms of heart and blood vessel disease. What causes a healthy heart to fail remains unclear, although in some circumstances failure is known to be initiated by genetic factors, viral factors, alcoholism, high blood pressure, or when the heart is damaged in a heart attack. We are interested in the molecular mechanisms that underlie the progression of the normal heart to failure. In 2003 we reported on altered signalling pathways in the failing human heart, and noted the increased phosphorylation of a spliceform of the transcription factor STAT3 in patients with heart failure. In this project, we will evaluate a larger group of heart failure patients for changes in phosphorylation of their STAT3 proteins. We will also increase the expression of an activated form of the STAT3 proteins in rat heart cells, and check whether there are accompanying changes in gene expression profiles that indicate a potential role in heart failure, or whether these cells are now predisposed to die. This will be extended with the use of transgenic animals (mice) engineered to overexpress activated STAT3 proteins. Again, we will focus on gene expression profiles. We will also evaluate whether the hearts of these animals are more likely to fail, either as the animals age, or when external stresses are experienced. With this information, we will be able to state whether STAT3 is a contributor to heart failure, and therefore whether it is an attractive target for future therapies aimed at reducing the morbidity and mortality of heart failure worldwide.
Funding Amount $AUD 413,694.48
Funding Scheme NHMRC Project Grants
Standard Project Grant