Research Highlight

New clues to heart failure

doi:10.1038/nindia.2012.118 Published online 13 August 2012

Researchers have homed in on a genetic variation that could be linked to left ventricular dysfunction (LVD), a heart disorder that affects the activity of the heart's left ventricle.

The genetic variation changes the activity of a gene that codes for a specific matrix metalloproteinase (MMP), which has roles in the proper functioning of the left ventricle. This finding could offer a novel way to predict the onset of LVD in patients afflicted with coronary artery disease (CAD).

LVD is a condition resulting from a cardiac disorder that reduces the ability of the ventricle to fill with or eject blood. This impaired ventricular function can be attributed to unfavourable ventricular remodelling. Among the pathways that contribute to the remodelling process, MMP proteins are of particular interest.

MMP proteins are coded by MMP genes. This led the researchers to explore the link between genetic variants of several MMP genes (MMP2, MMP7 and MMP9) and LVD in CAD patients. They selected 310 CAD patients and 230 healthy individuals as controls.

Among the CAD patients, 95 were categorized as having LVD. Using a technique called polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism, the researchers looked for genetic variations in the MMP genes of these patients.

They found that a genetic variant of MMP9 was significantly associated with LVD. To validate their results, the researchers performed a replication study in an additional 200 cases, which had similar clinical characteristics and results. The study also showed that the variation in MMP9 was significantly higher in subjects with reduced polymerase chain reaction-restriction fragment length polymorphism.

The researchers say that the genetic variant of MMP9 may be evaluated as a biomarker for the prediction of LVD in CAD patients. They add that these findings may help us to understand better the pathobiology of heart failure.

The authors of this work are from: Department of Genetics, and Department of Cardiology, Sanjay Gandhi Postgraduate Institute of Medical Sciences, Lucknow, Uttar Pradesh, India.


  1. Mishra, A. et al. Association of matrix metalloproteinases (MMP2, MMP7 and MMP9) genetic variants with left ventricular dysfunction in coronary artery disease patients. Clin. Chim. Acta. 413, 1668-1674 (2012) | Article | PubMed |