Cookies on this website
We use cookies to ensure that we give you the best experience on our website. If you click 'Continue' we'll assume that you are happy to receive all cookies and you won't see this message again. Click 'Find out more' for information on how to change your cookie settings.

For many years, we have been using beta-blockers to neutralise a specific stress hormone and prevent dangerous heart rhythms following a heart attack. However, a new study led Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics (DPAG) and published in the European Heart Journal has uncovered evidence for an additional stress hormone acting as a key trigger for dangerous heart rhythms that is not currently targeted by these drugs.

© Shutterstock

Cardiovascular disease is the main cause of death in the UK and throughout the Western World. Around half of these are caused by an unexpected change in the rhythm of the heart leading to collapse and cardiac arrest, known as "sudden cardiac death." The most common trigger for this is a heart attack, which occurs when one of the heart's arteries is blocked. However, why some heart attacks trigger dangerous heart rhythms and others do not is not fully understood.

Introduced over 50 years ago, drugs called beta-blockers stop the action of a stress hormone called norepinephrine, and are currently the only drugs that prolong life after a heart attack by helping to prevent dangerous heart rhythms. In new research from the DPAG, it is hypothesised that an additional stress hormone called Neuropeptide-Y (NPY) may be a key trigger for dangerous heart rhythms. 

Read more (Department of Physiology, Anatomy & Genetics)

Similar stories

New form of gift wrap drives male reproductive success

General Research

A study from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) has identified a new communication mechanism that ensures the transfer of a complex mix of signals and nutrients required for successful reproduction between males and females.

PRINCIPLE trial finds antibiotics azithromycin and doxycycline not generally effective treatments for COVID-19

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

In March 2020, the UK-wide Platform Randomised trial of INterventions against COVID-19 In older people (PRINCIPLE) trial was established as a flexible, platform randomised clinical trial to test a range of potential treatments for COVID-19 that might be suitable for use in the community to help people recover more quickly and prevent the need for hospital admission. The trial is one of three national platform trials for COVID-19 treatments, and complements the RECOVERY and REMAP-CAP trials that focus on hospitalised patients.

Early animal studies yield promising results for new potential COVID-19 vaccine

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

Studies carried out in the MRC Human Immunology Unit (MRC HIU) in collaboration with the Pirbright Institute have shown that a new potential vaccine against COVID-19, named RBD-SpyVLP, produces a strong antibody response in mice and pigs, providing vital information for the further development of the vaccine. Although this type of vaccine is not a competitor for the first wave of vaccines, it is hoped that it will be useful as a standalone vaccine or as a booster for individuals primed with a different COVID-19 vaccine.

Just over half of British Indians would take COVID vaccine

Coronavirus COVID-19 General Research

University of Oxford researchers from the Department of Physiology, Anatomy and Genetics (DPAG) and the Department of Psychiatry, in collaboration with The 1928 Institute, have published a major new study on the impact of COVID-19 on the UK’s largest BME population.

Investigating New Treatment for Schizophrenia

General Innovation Research

A partnership between University of Oxford, the Earlham Institute, and the global pharmaceutical companies Biogen Inc and Boehringer Ingelheim is announced today to investigate a new drug target for the treatment of schizophrenia.