Myocardial Recovery in Chronic Heart Failure

Chronic heart failure is a disease with poor prognosis and currently is a global epidemic. University of Utah Health investigator Stavros George Drakos, MD, and colleagues analyzed human heart tissue and produced evidence refuting the widely held notion that prolonged off-loading of the failing heart induced by cardiac assist devices results in disuse atrophy that further deteriorates heart function. Continue reading → Myocardial Recovery in Chronic Heart Failure

Megakaryocytes and Platelets in Immune and Inflammatory Responses and in COVID-19

Platelets—small cells which circulate in abundance in the bloodstream—are traditionally known for their ability to form clots and stop bleeding. Recent studies, however, have shown that platelets and their parent cells, megakaryocytes, also play a role in inflammation and infection. University of Utah Health investigators Robert Campbell, PhD, and Matthew Rondina, MD, and colleagues discovered that platelets and megakaryocytes respond robustly to infection, including COVID-19. These infection-driven changes in platelets activate clotting mechanisms and thus may contribute to the blood clots that complicate COVID-19 infection. Continue reading → Megakaryocytes and Platelets in Immune and Inflammatory Responses and in COVID-19

Neuronal Connections in the Retina

Bryan Jones, PhD, and colleagues used electron microscopes to visualize the chemical and electrical synaptic connections that makes up the neural network. They further observed, in a transgenic rabbit model of early retinal degeneration, abnormal connectivity in the rod-photoreceptor network and novel synaptic connections derived from sprouting. Continue reading → Neuronal Connections in the Retina

Unexpected Antiviral Activity of Spironolactone

Epstein–Barr virus (EBV) is a human herpesvirus associated with clinical infections and several types of malignancies. Sankar Swaminathan, MD, and colleagues showed that a hypertension/heart failure drug, spironolactone, also has anti-EBV effects. Continue reading → Unexpected Antiviral Activity of Spironolactone

New Class of Therapy for Chronic Heart Failure

The lab directed by Robin Shaw (MD, PhD) and Nora Eccles Harrison Cardiovascular Research & Training Institute (CVRTI) Investigators have identified an architectural protein (cBIN1) of heart muscle cells that organizes the intracellular signalizing network responsible for heart muscle contraction and relaxation. Continue reading → New Class of Therapy for Chronic Heart Failure

A Rapidly Manufacturable, Open-Source Ventilator for Austere Conditions

At the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, severe ventilator shortages led to dire situations both in developed regions and in low-resource regions where robust and affordable ventilators were already scarce. To address this urgent need, University of Utah Health researcher Kai Kuck, PhD, and colleagues developed Pufferfish, a complete intensive care unit ventilator capable of supporting the continuum from noninvasive ventilation to full mechanical ventilation. Continue reading → A Rapidly Manufacturable, Open-Source Ventilator for Austere Conditions

Enhancing Decision-making for Diagnosis and Management of Respiratory Infection

Barbara Jones, MD, and Matthew Samore, MD, used national data from the Department of Veterans Affairs to examine decision-making and practice patterns among providers prescribing antibiotics for patients diagnosed with acute respiratory infection. Continue reading → Enhancing Decision-making for Diagnosis and Management of Respiratory Infection

Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease

Metabolic diseases such as diabetes, steatohepatitis, and coronary artery disease result from the delivery of nutrients that exceed a tissue’s energetic needs or storage capacity. The excess nutrients give rise to deleterious lipid species that impair cellular function. Summers and colleagues found that ceramides, a class of sphingolipids, alter the metabolism of liver and adipose tissue in a way that gives rise to cardiometabolic disease. Continue reading → Lipid Metabolism and Cardiometabolic Disease

How Cells Choose to Create Energy

To supply their energy needs, cells typically choose between utilizing glucose in the cytoplasm (aerobic glycolysis and lactic acid fermentation) or “burning” pyruvate in the mitochondria (mitochondrial carbohydrate oxidation). Although this is arguably the most fundamental metabolic decision that cells make, before 2012 it was not clear how cells import pyruvate into mitochondria to fuel ATP production. Continue reading → How Cells Choose to Create Energy

How Iron Deficiency Impairs Pancreatic β-Cell Function

Research in the lab of Elizabeth Leibold, PhD, showed that in mice with iron deficiency, proinsulin processing to mature insulin was impaired, resulting in reduced levels of circulating and glucose intolerance. Mice treated with iron restored insulin to normal levels and eliminated the glucose intolerance. Continue reading → How Iron Deficiency Impairs Pancreatic β-Cell Function