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Now, Viagra good for your heart?

health-and-fitness Updated: Dec 24, 2011 16:04 IST

ANI
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An active ingredient in Viagra can alleviate heart problems, a new study has claimed.

According to Bochum’s researchers in cooperation with colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota), sildenafil makes stiffened cardiac walls elastic again.

They researchers studied dogs with diastolic heart failure, a condition in which the heart chamber does not sufficiently fill with blood. They showed that sildenafil makes stiffened cardiac walls more elastic again.

ViagraThe drug activates an enzyme that causes the giant protein titin in the myocardial cells to relax.

“We have developed a therapy in an animal model that, for the first time, also raises hopes for the successful treatment of patients,” Wolfgang Linke of the RUB Institute of Physiology, said.

Sildenafil inhibits a specific enzyme, phosphodiesterase 5 A, which causes the increased formation of a messenger substance (cGMP). The messenger substance activates the enzyme protein kinase G, which attaches phosphate groups to certain proteins.

This so-called phosphorylation causes blood vessels to relax, which was why the “potency pill” Viagra originally came onto the market. The Bochum and Rochester researchers found that the cardiac muscle protein titin is also phosphorylated through the same mechanism.

“The titin molecules are similar to rubber bands. Bochum''s researchers in cooperation with colleagues from the Mayo Clinic in Rochester (Minnesota),” the Bochum physiologist said.

The activity of the protein kinase G causes titin to relax. This makes the cardiac walls more elastic. The effect occurs within minutes of administering the drug.

“Of all the patients aged over 60 who are in hospital because of a weak heart, half suffer from diastolic heart failure,” Linke said.

“Although we know that the decreased distensibility of the cardiac walls is the cause, the disease cannot be treated properly with today’s medicines,” Linke added.

The study has been published in the journal Circulation.