Johns Hopkins Researchers Study Impact of Oxidation on Heart Health

Terry McEnany, MD, is a thoracic and cardiovascular surgeon with publications in peer-reviewed journals including the American Heart Association’s Circulation, the Rhode Island Medical Journal, and The Annals of Thoracic Surgery. In preparation for his career as a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Terry McEnany earned his medical degree from the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine.

A recent study by Johns Hopkins researchers investigated the role of oxidative stress, or the body’s ability to neutralize damage caused by free radicals, in heart failure. The study, which was published in The Journal of Clinical Investigation, noted that the process of oxidation interferes with a heart-shielding protein known as PKG. PKG is responsible for controlling biological stressors including elevated blood pressure and inflammation by binding to certain molecules, but oxidation altered the fundamental structure of PKG, impairing its ability to function.

Researchers also experimented with mice that were engineered to have oxidant-resistant PKG, and found that after induced heart failure, they displayed much milder disease than mice with normal PKG. These new findings provide an avenue of research for developing therapies to halt or slow heart failure, a condition that affects an estimated 5.1 million Americans.