Your heart is racing, to the point where it is at risk of failing. But, in a countermeasure atypical of the almost always smart-functioning human body, the adrenal gland responds with an excessive output of fight of flight hormones such as epinephrine and norepindephrine. In effect, the body mistakenly responds by making the heart beat even faster -- clearly a problem. Researchers from the Center for Translational Medicine at Thomas Jefferson University in Philadelphia are examining this cause and effect relationship, and hope that targeting the adrenal gland may help stave off heart failure altogether.
By blocking an important regulatory enzyme called GRK2, the researchers prevented the hormone production that causes the heart to pump in overdrive, which is what ultimately leads to heart failure. While previous examination of heart failure has targeted the heart alone as the source for failure, this supplementary look into the role of the adrenal gland may be an effective new prevention strategy.
In the past, doctors have used beta-blockers to block the hormones that force the heart to go berserk and beat like you ate a few handfulls of espresso beans and chased them with a twelve-pack of Red Bull. Researchers involved in this new study instead focused on the adrenal gland, and were able to prevent heart failure in laboratory animals. The researchers are hopeful that their findings will lead to a new class of medication.